Legal Issues With Injured Employees

Dealing with employees is always a significant issue that Silkin Management Group clients need help with. Given that Silkin clients are professionally trained in their health care specialty, but have little training in running a business, employee issues often are problematic. That’s where we help out by providing training and consulting in practice management.

One employee problem that can arise is what to do with an employees who injure themselves through their own negligence or poor behavior? Can you discipline them or take other remedial actions? Here are some key points to consider when such a situation comes about. (Note: as we tell all Silkin Management Group clients, always consult with a good employment attorney before implementing any ideas such as these to make sure it conforms with the laws and regulations in your area.)

• Do you have an employee contract and/or office policy that covers on-the-job injuries, including remedial actions should the injury be caused by employee negligence? If not, consult an employment attorney and develop what is needed before you take any action.

• Have you looked at the OSHA regulations and what might constitute retaliation should an employee file an OSHA claim?

• Does your workplace comply with OSHA safety standards and qualify as a safe place to work? If not, even though the injury may have been caused by employee negligence or bad behavior, any discipline that you invoke will likely be considered retaliation and get you in hot water.

• Any employee discipline that isn’t clearly outlined in your office policy can potentially open you up to discrimination attacks if the employee belongs to a protected group. (And who doesn’t belong to a protected group these days?) . Make sure you have adequate office policy covering expected office behavior, attendance, and all basic aspects of working in the office including levels of discipline for particular offenses. Silkin Management Group’s Office Policy and Job Description Manual has many example policies that cover these activities.

These are just a few points to be aware of. Again, we cannot emphasize enough, always consult a good employment attorney when writing and/or implementing employee contracts and office policies that deal with employee issues. Our manual gives any health care practice owner a good template from which to start.