‘Workplace Management’ Category
It is our company policy when an employee calls in and will be absent they should provide the following:
1. Reason for the absence.
2. Expected length of absence
3. Expected date of return to work with documentation
Does this violate HIPAA?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information. The Privacy Rule does not prevent employers, including Supervisors or Human Resource Professionals, from asking employee’s for a doctor’s note or other health related information if doing so is required in order to administer sick leave, workers’ compensation, or health insurance.
It’s the employer’s obligation to ensure employees eligible for the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), worker’s comp, disability coverage, or any benefit offered by the employer such as wellness programs or paid time off, are informed of their rights to use such benefits. When an employee calls out from work, the employer can request the reason for the absence, the expected length of the absence, and documentation supporting the need for the absence within reason.
It’s important to train supervisors what information to request and how to manage the information received. Requesting too much information from employees is not a good idea. The employer just needs to know if the absence is due to a medical or personal reason. An employee calling out stating she isn’t feeling well and will be out for one day shouldn’t be further questioned as to her symptoms and self-diagnosis. Also, it may be burdensome to an employee to obtain a doctor’s note for a one or two day absence, especially since some illnesses/medical reasons don’t warrant a visit to the doctor. Thus, it’s better practice and more common to require a doctor’s note after three days of absences.
Supervisors must be able to recognize when an employee may be able to take advantage of company benefits or when the company must comply with applicable laws. An employee calling out due to injuries sustained in a car accident may need to be informed of his FMLA rights. Furthermore, if the accident occurred in a company vehicle the employer must initiate a worker’s comp claim. Supervisors must understand how to evaluate if an employee’s absence requires obtaining more information in order to ascertain if additional benefits or laws apply. Depending upon company structure, supervisors may need to know “trigger” words alerting them to notify Human Resources or they may need to be trained in all applicable legislation.
My MN employer maintain that if they receive one more hostile work complaint against them, the state is going to pull our “license” and we will go out of business. Is this true in any way shape or form?
In order to maintain state licenses and permits, companies must comply with a wide range of state regulations. Depending upon the type of license in reference, insufficient company management may cause the company’s license to be revoked or at least cause the company to receive citations. For example, a child care agency failing to ensure employees meet training requirements or failing to obey staff to child ratios may be cited for compliance issues. Ongoing issues may cause the company’s child care license to be revoked.
So, there may be some truth behind the comment depending upon the nature of the business, type of license, and history of citations; however, it’s hard to believe that one more harassment complaint will solely be the reason the company loses its license. The real concern should be why the company is receiving so many complaints. The company should be focused on creating a more positive environment for employees to ensure the business’ future.
I am a manager and I am new to the job, one month in, and an employee asked me if I could lend them 40 dollars until next payday. What can I do to help this ? This is only 4 days after payday. This person has new baby and 8 other young children. What would be the right thing to do legally, morally, and ethically? Thank you,
This is a difficult situation for anyone since most people have a genuine desire to help each other. It’s rarely, if ever, a good idea to loan money to co-workers, especially one you supervise, for many reasons. She could not pay you back then things will become awkward. Once you’ve opened the door for one loan she may continue to ask you for more. Most importantly, managers must maintain professional relationships with their supervisees. Loaning money to a worker you supervise will cross those boundaries and potentially cause an uncomfortable work environment.
Many companies have a no solicitation policy which often includes the prohibition of employees requesting money from other employees. If your company has such a policy, you can inform the employee of the policy and that it’s your obligation as a manager to adhere to it. Many companies also offer pay advances. Hopefully, a pay advance is an option and you can refer her to the necessary procedure. If neither is an option, politely explain to her that it would be unprofessional of you as her manager to loan her money.
If an employee is sent for a job related one day seminar or training, will the employee eligible for travel expense at .55.5 and for the meal?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not regulate how travel expenses are paid; it only covers how the travel/work time is paid. Whether or not an employer chooses to reimburse an employee for mileage and/or meals is a matter of agreement between employee and employer.
The FLSA does stipulate that if an employee regularly works at a fixed location and is given a special one-day assignment (such as attending a seminar) in another city and returns home the same day, the time spent traveling to and from the other city is counted as hours worked, except that the employer may deduct the amount of time the employee normally spends commuting to and from the regular worksite.
If the seminar is held in the same city that the employee regularly works in, the time spent traveling to and from the seminar would be considered regular home-to-work commuting, and thus would not be compensable.
We have been undergoing an audit of our benefit files to bring us in line with HIPPA/HITECH regulations. Locking filing cabinets, locking computers when away from desk, etc to protect our employees personal health information (PHI)as it applies to our benefit plan. Should this also include leave of absence files that contain Medical certifications for leave of absences, including FMLA and other types of leaves?
Should these also always be in locked cabinets? Thank you for your help.
Yes. Any information relating to an employee’s medical history or current health conditions should always be treated as confidential and access to this information must be limited.
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