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7 Statements That Can Lead to Audits or Claims

Lauren Walchek
Posted by Lauren Walchek on April 18, 2022

Here's the unfortunate truth: Some employees don't have your best interests at heart. While most employee complaints are serious and represent real issues, your job as a practice owner or manager is to  all issues seriously, regardless of your first impression. It also means watching what you say in the office.

Keep this in mind: Sometimes, if one thing is wrong, several things might be wrong, and employees may start looking for other issues to complain about. This is one of the reasons why being compliant in all areas — not just certain ones — is so important. One wrong move by your management team can trigger a comprehensive audit that could land your dental, optometry, or medical practice in serious hot water.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself, including appropriate software and technology to manage employee complaints and keep your practice compliant with rules and regulations. Dealing with these issues is a critical part of employee relationship management. Here are seven statements that can potentially trigger audits. 

Statement 1: “When I receive employee complaints about other employees or supervisors, I only investigate if the complaint seems valid."

A statement like this is almost guaranteed to bring down the wrath of state and federal authorities and hurt your record in employee relationship management. The reason is clear: State and federal authorities require an investigation of any complaint filed against a practice. This goes double if the claim is about a discriminatory action, like a racist, sexist, or ageist comment. 

Instead of making statements like this, investigate all complaints. Document the steps you take as you investigate each complaint. It's not enough to hope the issue will resolve itself by ignoring it. Fortunately, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and relevant state agencies can provide guidance on the steps your dental, optometry, or other medical practice can take to resolve employee complaints. HR for Health also has a team available to answer any questions you may have on the process. 

If you are using HR for Health, you can use our secure cloud storage to document issues and monitor complaints. You can create folders to house any paperwork related to investigations.

Statement 2: "If you don’t return your keys, I won’t issue your final paycheck."

In virtually every state, you must pay employees what they are owed. It's that simple. Most states have specific requirements about what can and cannot be deducted. 

 

7 Statements That Can Lead to Audits or Claims

As such, always issue all final paychecks on time to avoid penalties. Remember, deductions typically require written authorization. In addition, unauthorized deductions can damage employee relationship management — word will get out — and possibly lead to lawsuits.

If you need to help manage the termination process, we offer termination documents. This includes information that outlines final paycheck timing requirements along with relevant penalties that can apply for instances of noncompliance. 

Recommended Reading:

How Long Should Payroll Processing Really Take?

Statement 3: "We only pay you overtime if it is authorized."

If overtime is incurred, it must be paid — authorized or not. You are responsible for managing timekeeping issues, and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires all hours to be adequately tracked and documented. Furthermore, this may damage your employee relationship management abilities and lead to employee complaints. 

You have to pay all overtime, regardless of approval or not. 

If you need help tracking overtime, our timekeeping feature is accurate to the second, and it will allow you to monitor the potential for employees to incur overtime.

Recommended Reading:

FLSA Fact Sheet on Recordkeeping Requirements

Statement 4: "Our dress code requires that all women wear ABC, and men wear XYZ."

Gendered dress-code can create huge problems and lead to employee complaints, at best, and claims of discrimination or disparate treatment at worst. This can lead to an expensive lawsuit and will unquestionably hurt your employee relationship management.

 

7 Statements That Can Lead to Audits or Claims

To avoid a potential problem in your dental, optometry, or other medical practice, steer clear of distinguishing gender requirements to avoid discrimination claims and lawsuits. Be clear about dress codes, but be sure they apply to both genders.

Have questions about your dress code, or another HR policy? Connect with our HR Specialist team to see if your policy is compliant. We can also help you create a handbook that's compliant with all relevant laws. 

Statement 5: "Our employee handbook is five years old."

Laws and regulations change. As such, effective employee relationship management means your handbook must change too.

You need to make sure you update your handbook annually. This ensures you are continually operating under the latest regulations based on changes to federal and state law. Written policies that conflict with state law will hurt you in the long run. 

If you need help with this, remember, HR for Health customers receive an up-to-date handbook that you can revise as often as you like, at no extra charge.

Recommended Reading

Is Your Optometry Practice's Employee Handbook Out of Date?

Statement 6: "I’ll just wait until the annual review process to mention all the performance issues."

Employee issues don't go away, and they can hurt performance, morale, and your practice. You need to address performance issues

immediately and proactively. 

Instead of waiting until a performance review, make sure to give performance feedback immediately. It should be delivered professionally, discussed behind closed doors when severe, and documented. Waiting to deliver feedback damages morale and makes the feedback harder to swallow. Your employees want — and deserve — the chance to correct errors when they happen or improve skills as needed. 

 

If you are using HR for Health, you can track employee performance and use our templates to note performance issues.

Recommended Reading

HR for Health Feature Spotlight: Performance Management

Statement 7: "I will fire anyone who doesn’t want to receive the COVID vaccine."

7 Statements That Can Lead to Audits or Claims

The COVID vaccine issue is still evolving, so be sure that policies are sound and all problems are documented. While you may be able to fire some employees, you may not be able to fire others with a reasonable qualifying accommodation. Be sure to engage in the interactive process when an employee requests legal accommodation and speak with your attorneys about the relevant state and legal laws, particularly medical and religious. 

At HR for Health, we offer documentation storage that can help keep track of relevant documents, so they're safe and secure. 

How HR for Health Can Help

In operating your dental, optometry, or other medical practice, your job is to manage employee complaints, engage in appropriate employee relationship management, and care for your patients. At HR for Health, we have the tools that can help you avoid unnecessary legal issues and protect your practice. This includes document storage that stores documents securely in the cloud, a template for a vaccine mandate police, and a slew of performance tracking features.


Contact us today for a non-obligation consultation, and learn more about how we can help your practice thrive.

Schedule an HR Consultation

Topics: claims, lawsuits, ethics

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