This article originally appeared in the Principles of Practice Management e-newsletter. Subscribe to this informative twice monthly practice management ENL here.
The human resources landscape is constantly changing. Dentists have ongoing questions about how to handle staff issues. Take one of this month's questions, for instance. Can this dentist legally refuse to pay for a holiday when an employee takes a day off before or after?
ANSWER: It depends. This is driven by policy first and foremost. Do you have a policy established that states that employees must work the day before and the day after a holiday in order to be eligible for a paid holiday? If not, then you will need to firmly establish this before refusing to pay for a holiday.
I assume that you want to do this in order to prevent employees from abusing their time off. We all know that one employee who calls in absent the day before or after a holiday in order to gain more time off. Policies that punish employees by taking away the holiday can help control that, or at the very least, can allow an employer to not pay for the holiday when abusive conduct occurs.
Typically, policies will allow for preapproved time off and will not affect the paid holiday. The key is preapproved—vacation, PTO, etc. Thus, it’s important to clarify this in the policy.
Final thought, states, cities, and counties with paid sick leave ordinances do not allow holiday pay to be stripped away when an employee uses his or her available paid sick time around a holiday. Thus, if you reside in one of those areas, the policy must allow for usage of sick pay and not prohibit holiday pay.
QUESTION: I want to ask about a person’s driving record on his application for employment as part of the screening process. Is this allowed?
ANSWER: Yes, as long as you limit the request to receiving information about driving convictions and not arrests. The application should also state that the applicant should not disclose anything about expunged and sealed convictions.
However, the real question relates to whether or not this information, once received, can be used against the applicant. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has clearly stated that employment decisions regarding criminal histories that are unrelated to the job the person is applying for could be subject to legal scrutiny. This is due to the fact that non-white individuals are more likely to be charged and convicted of crimes than Caucasian individuals.
Thus, unless the position for which the person is being considered involves driving for work and, therefore, the person must maintain a good driving record, asking this of everyone regardless of position can be problematic and should be avoided.
Human Resources Questions for Dentists is provided by Rebecca Boartfield and Tim Twigg of Bent Ericksen & Associates. Tim Twigg is president and Rebecca Boartfield is a human resources 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.