Retaliation

April 1st, 2013

Q: I have just received notification from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) that they are investigating a claim of retaliation filed by one of my employees. About three months ago, this employee (a hygienist) told me that a patient had repeatedly made inappropriate comments and tried to touch her. I took immediate action, investigated, found that he had in fact made the comments, and then removed him as patient of record. I notified the employee of the action I took. Then, at a staff meeting, I told everyone that if anything occurred with any other patient that they were to report it immediately and that I did not tolerate this behavior. I thought the issue was done.

Read More

Replace or Retain

April 1st, 2013

Q. My hygienist just informed me that due to a medical problem, her physician has advised she not work for 6 to 8 weeks. She is my only hygienist and I cannot be without one for that long. Do I have to keep her position open? Although she meets performance expectations, her work is not extraordinary. I would like to advise her that I will not hold her position open for that long and start the process of hiring a new hygienist. Can I do this?

Read More

Religious Accomodation

April 1st, 2013

Q: I have a new hygienist who has advised me that she is a Muslim and has requested that I provide her time twice a day to pray. She has also started wearing a head scarf. These requests did not come up in the interview. I am not crazy about the headscarf and I don’t see why I should have to adjust her schedule to let her pray. Can I require her to stop wearing the head scarf; I think it makes my patients uncomfortable? Do I have to allow her time to pray, we run a tight schedule and I don’t think it is fair to allow her this time when I do not allow others?

Read More

Reference Checks, What to say?

April 1st, 2013

Q: Unfortunately, I had to terminate my office manager not too long ago. She had many performance problems that were documented in her file. Recently, I received a call asking for references on her. I did not know what to say. I would like her to get a job, yet her performance was not good and I would feel like I was lying if I said otherwise. I also did not want her to come back to me and accuse me of anything. What should I do?

Read More

Recovery of Overpayment

April 1st, 2013

About a month ago I gave my assistant a raise. When my bookkeeper entered the amount she transposed two numbers so instead of entering $15.70 she entered $17.50. It took me about a month before I discovered and corrected the error. She was over paid by $1.60 per hour for 180 hours – essentially a total of $280.00. I understand that these errors occur, I am not angry at my bookkeeper but I am upset about is the assistant’s failure to let me know of the error. I feel that her failure to notify me of this error was dishonest and that I can no longer trust her which leads to my two questions; how can I legally recover this money and how do I deal with an assistant I do not trust?

Read More