Human Resources for Dental Offices: Is recording performance review legal? How to collect overpayment from employee

Human resources experts answer some tough questions from dentists.

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QUESTION: One of our employees secretly did an audio recording of his performance review meeting on his iPhone. Is that legal?
ANSWER:
Possibly. You should check your states’ laws regarding audio recordings and any applicable requirement to obtain permission first. The majority of states currently have single-party consent laws that permit anyone to record a conversation without another’s consent, while other states require that all parties consent to the recording. Once you have an understanding of applicable laws, you should consider implementing a policy prohibiting unauthorized audio recording, videotaping, or photography in the workplace. That could go a long way in preventing such conduct in the future and give your company the grounds to discipline employees who violate the policy. Be sure this policy is reviewed by legal counsel and complies with state law.

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QUESTION: While conducting an audit of payroll, we recently discovered that we overpaid an employee by about $2,000. Can we recoup this from the employee?
ANSWER:
Depending on how recent this error occurred, you are allowed to get back overpayments made to employees, but how you can do that will depend on your state’s laws. One way, and perhaps the safest way, is to simply notify the employee of the mistake and work out an arrangement upon which the employee will provide separate payments to the company over some period of time to repay the monies owed. The other way is for the employee to authorize payroll deductions. This is where state laws step in – some allow this and others don’t. For those states that do allow it, you must have the agreement in writing and you must adhere to minimum wage rules (i.e., the employee’s net earnings cannot be below minimum wage). State laws can also have rules about the timing of getting overpayments repaid (i.e., not further out than one or two pay periods at most).

MORE HUMAN RESOURCES QUESTIONS:
Paying overtime, and tossing resumes
Misclassifying employees, and reducing wages for tardy employees
Uniform policies, and two-week notices

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 bentericksen.com.

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