HR Base Camp Roundup – January 31st

In this week’s edition of the HR Base Camp roundup, we discuss some of the most common HR questions we regularly receive! Read on to find out what you should do if a patient harasses one of your employees, whether or not you need to pay your employees for taking CPR training, and what to do with an employee who’s suddenly taking a lot of sick days.

Here are the HR Q&As from our HR Base Camp Facebook Group and HR Solution Center:

 

One of our patients made inappropriate comments to an employee. Does this qualify as harassment? What’s the best way to address this?

Working with dental, medical, and medispa businesses, this is unfortunately a question that we get often. Employers are sometimes unsure about whether the anti-harassment policies in place apply to harassment from people who aren’t employed at their business.

The answer is always yes. As an employer, your legal responsibility is to maintain a harassment free workplace. Any and all reports of harassment should be addressed, regardless of who the harasser is.

When CEDR members come to us with an issue like this, we recommend that the employee fill out the “Employee Concern Reporting” form that we provide so there’s a written record of what happened. You can download a free version of this form here. 

You should also fill out your own report documenting how the information came to your attention and the steps you took to remedy the situation.

It’s important to make it clear to the employee that you’re to advocate for them in this situation, and you want them to report harassment if it takes place. Some employers find that when a harassment issue arises, they want to remind their entire staff of their policies towards addressing harassment. This is more than okay to do, just make sure that it’s done in a neutral and general way rather than sharing specifics about the claim your employee just made.

If you don’t have a policy for addressing harassment in your handbook, now is a good time to work with an HR expert to add one.

 

Do I need to pay employees for CPR training?

We get this question a lot from the healthcare practices we serve, as there is typically some type of CPR requirement that must be met by some or all employees of a practice.

The answer to this question depends on who the CPR requirement applies to. In some instances it may be that the healthcare practice is required by the state to ensure its staff are CPR trained. In other cases, an individual license-holder may be required to have a CPR certification in order to maintain their license.

If the requirement is on the practice, then the employees are taking the training because it’s required by their employer. This means the employer is required to pay for both the cost of the CPR training as well as employee time taking the training.

Whereas if the requirement is on an individual, then just like any other licensing CE requirement this is the responsibility of the individual to pay for and attend. The practice would not be required to pay for the cost of the course or time spent in the course, as long as the practice stays out of it.

What do we mean by that? If the practice picks a course, schedules a course, or otherwise in some way tells the employee what course to attend (such as holding the course in the office and asking everyone to attend), then the individual is only taking that particular course at the direction of their employer. That turns it into a work event, and both the cost and time spent must be paid by the employer.

 

One of my employees has been taking more sick days than usual. Can I ask for a doctor’s note for verification?

This scenario is all too common for employers. Anyone who manages a team of people has likely dealt with an employee taking multiple sick days, often at the last minute, so we understand why you would want to ask for a doctor’s note to verify their need to be absent. But before you ask for a note, there’s a few things to consider.

First, and most importantly, is the employee using state protected sick leave for these absences? These laws typically have restrictions on when you can ask for a note. The majority of sick leave laws prohibit employers from asking for a doctor’s note until the employee has been out for multiple consecutive days.

If the employee is using protected sick days intermittently, asking for a doctor’s note would be a violation of the law in place. Violations of sick leave laws can result in hefty fines, so we recommend reviewing the specifics of the law if one applies to you.

If there’s no law in place, it’s up to your discretion when you ask for a note. Ideally, you should have a handbook policy in place that lets the employee know this is a possibility any time they use sick time. If you do end up asking for a note, be mindful of the information that you ask for. Remember that employees aren’t required to disclose medical conditions, and forcing them to can violate state and federal laws.

 

At CEDR, we help employers protect their businesses and build stronger teams. Because stronger teams build better workplaces, and better workplaces make better lives.

Have an HR question you need to talk through with an HR expert? Reach out to the Solution Center for expert guidance, or get your questions answered in our private, professional Facebook Group, HR Base Camp.

Jan 31, 2023

Friendly Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and is not intended to provide legal advice or replace individual guidance about a specific issue with an attorney or HR expert. The information on this page is general human resources guidance that is believed to be current as of the date of publication. Note that CEDR is not a law firm, and as the law is always changing, you should consult with a qualified attorney or HR expert who is familiar with all of the facts of your situation before making a decision about any human resources or employment law matter.
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