Human Resources

Human Resources for Dental Practices: DOL Timesheet app, cell phone lockdown

June 5, 2014
Human resource experts address the latest questions from dental practices

QUESTION: I heard that the Department of Labor released a new smartphone application that may help employees file wage claims against employers. Is this true?

ANSWER: It is true that the Department of Labor (DOL) released the “DOL – Timesheet” application. This free app is available from the Apple iTunes Store only for the iPad and iPhone. This app enables employees to easily track their hours worked and wages earned. In addition, at the touch of a button, employees can email an attachment containing a summary of their hours worked and their gross pay calculation. This can be emailed to their employers and/or the DOL. Since it can be emailed to the DOL, some have surmised that this will make it easier for employees to file claims against employers for wage and hour violations.

QUESTION: Nearly all employees have a personal cell phone that they bring to work. Most employees only use their phones during non-work hours, such as at lunch or on breaks. Others aren’t as respectful. Can we require employees to lock up their cell phones at the beginning of their shifts and not carry them?

ANSWER: Employees do not have a right to carry or use cell phones at work. If employees have a place to lock up their cell phones such as a locker or desk, then you can require the phones to be placed in these areas before the start of the shift. The same is true for music players and camera devices. In addition, time spent on company equipment for personal matters can also be limited. You should ensure, however, that employees’ family members and friends have a way to contact them in case of emergencies.

To pay or not to pay interns, FMLA updates
Personal vehicle use for company business; the I-9 form
Can a paycheck be docked for excessive absence?

Human Resources Tips for Dental Practices is provided by Tim Twigg and Rebecca Crane of Bent Ericksen & Associates. Tim Twigg is president and Rebecca Crane 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