Human Resources 2

Human Resources for Dental Offices: Paying overtime, and tossing resumes

Sept. 22, 2014
Human Resource experts from Bent Erickson and Associates answer dentists' questions regarding staff issues.

QUESTION: We have an overwhelming number of job applications and resumes, most of which are from people who aren’t qualified to work with us. Can we toss these? Or are we required to keep them?

ANSWER: You can toss them, but only after you have kept them for the required period of time. Several federal and state laws require employers to keep job applications and resumes from both qualified and unqualified applicants at least one year from the date the hiring decision was made. This is in the event that your hiring decision is challenged as discriminatory. You will need to have documentation to establish that it was not discriminatory, and job applications can help you do that.

QUESTION: I’m frustrated with a group of my employees who continually clock in and start work early. Sometimes this extra time adds up to require overtime pay. Do I have to pay them? After all, I didn’t authorize them to work early.

ANSWER: Yes, you do have to pay them. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and similar state laws require employers to pay for all work time, regardless of whether or not the time was authorized by you. Basically, if an employee is “suffered or permitted to work,” he or she must be paid.

Your only course of action is to establish a policy prohibiting employees from working before or after their shift without authorization from the employer. Then, when an employee violates this rule, hold him/her accountable by applying disciplinary measures (i.e., verbal warnings, written warnings, suspensions without pay, termination, etc.). Under no circumstances, though, can you withhold their wages.

Misclassifying employees, and reducing wages for tardy employees
Uniform policies, and two-week notices
I-9 forms, and payroll debit cards

Human Resources Tips for Dental Practices is provided by Tim Twigg and Rebecca Boartfield of Bent Ericksen & Associates. Tim Twigg is president and Rebecca Boartfield is a human resource compliance consultant with Bent Ericksen & Associates. For 30 years, the company has been a leading authority in human resource and personnel issues, helping dentists deal successfully with the ever-changing and complex labor laws. To receive a complimentary copy of the company’s quarterly newsletter or to learn more about its services, call (800) 679-2760 or visit