2021 HR Internal Audit Checklist (Dental Law Radio, Episode 9)
Does your dental practice have an employee manual with up-to-date provisions addressing bullying? Workplace violence? Do you have a cell phone policy? An internet policy? Have these policies been examined and updated recently? If not, your practice is at risk. Host Stuart Oberman offers a checklist all dental practices should review to ensure their HR processes and policies are adequate. Dental Law Radio is underwritten and presented by Oberman Law Firm and produced by the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX®.
Intro: [00:00:02] Broadcasting from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, it’s time for Dental Law Radio Dental Law Radio is brought to you by Oberman Law Firm, a leading dental centric law firm serving dental clients on a local, regional and national basis. Now, here’s your host, Stuart Oberman.
Stuart Oberman: [00:00:27] Hello, everyone, and welcome. Today’s topic, HR, the favorite topic within a dental practice, human resources. So, a couple of things I want to talk about. As COVID-19 has involved, and I know everyone’s sort of getting COVID-19 out, if you will, but from an HR standpoint, it has taught us an invaluable lesson of how unprepared our dental practices were.
Stuart Oberman: [00:00:52] So, what we’re going to do is we’re going to go through this topic of 2021 internal audit checklist. What do our doctors need to know from an internal HR standpoint? There’s a couple of things that we want to take a look at. First and foremost, employee files and records, critical. Every HR starts with employees’ files and records. So, some basic information, and I know this sounds elementary like, “Yes, I know we do this,” but I will tell you, when things come about, and things hit the fan with the employees, our doctors are missing this information, and sometimes it is absolutely critical.
Stuart Oberman: [00:01:36] So, what do we want to do? First off, employee files and records. First and foremost, employees never, ever in a million years have control of their own personnel file because what happens is employees are terminated, they’re fired, they quit. And I will tell you, the first thing that goes is their own personal records, especially if they have disciplinary problems.
Stuart Oberman: [00:02:00] So, what do we do? So, what should be included in our basic employee files and records? First, from a basic standpoint, we have to review and update the person employee information. What does that include? Home address and mailing address. So, what happens is if you’ve got to send out a termination letter, we’ve got to send out a separation notice, and you have the wrong address. Then, employees complain. 30, 60, 90 days later, they report you because they haven’t received their separation notice. And now, you get a notice from the government, the Department of Labor, that, “Hey, you haven’t said the separation notice out.” Basic information.
Stuart Oberman: [00:02:36] Phone numbers, how do you get a hold of your employees? We have some doctors that their employees, you change your number seem like every week. So, again, if they’re fired, discharged, whatever, how do you get hold of them? So then, take a look at your insurance benefits, your 401(k) benefits and other benefits. Are you in compliance? Are they offered to your employees? Is there a name change?
Stuart Oberman: [00:03:05] We were doing an estate planning the other day and a particular client didn’t realize that she doesn’t know if the Social Security Administration ever changed her legal name. So, we did a will based upon her maiden name, and she’s been married for 20 years. And our client couldn’t tell us what was on file for her legal name. So, those are the simple things that we need to take a look at.
Stuart Oberman: [00:03:39] Emergency contacts. What are you going to do, who are you going to call if one of your employees has a stroke in your office, has a medical issue? Who are you going to call? Dependent information, children. Basic file information. Is this elementary? Yes. “Well, I’ve got all this information,” but you’re going to be surprised of what you don’t have should this case arise.
Stuart Oberman: [00:04:02] So, HR. HR starts – I can’t stress this enough, every HR has to start with a foundation, which is employee manual. I talk about this all the time, I talk about it for years, and it’s amazing to me that our doctor manuals are 15-20 years old. They’re put together because the practice that they purchased 15 years ago, all they did was change the name, they bought it from a friend, they got it online on the Internet, and they paid a couple of thousand dollars for something that’s 25 pages. So, HR is absolutely critical.
Stuart Oberman: [00:04:40] One thing you have to do in today’s world is confirm that you’re manual is up to date, federal and state law. We get calls all the time, the office manager will say, I’ve been working on this manual for six months. I need help. Can you put it together?” And we say, “Within 10 to 14 days, you’ll have it. It’ll be up to date. It’ll be in compliance.” So, if you’re working on putting a manual together for six months to a year, how in the world is your office manager keeping up to date as to what’s going on? The answer is they’re not.
Stuart Oberman: [00:05:18] So, another important issue is dress code. Do you have a dress code policy? Is it defined and acceptable? How do you address tattoos? How do you address non-traditional hair colors? How do you address body piercings? What’s going to happen if you tell that one individual, “Well, you can’t do this. You can’t do that. You can’t wear this. You can’t have that,” now, you’ve singled out an employee. Now, we’ve got all kinds of problems; where if we have it on employee manuals, it’s across the board. Everyone has to comply with it. And if they don’t, then you’ve got a problem, and it’s something you need to address. Or what happens if they choose to, one day, violate it and you have no company policy? How do you handle that?
Stuart Oberman: [00:06:11] Do you have a cell phone policy? I know we talked about this on a previous podcast. What happens if you have data on your cell phone that needs to be destroyed? Can you say whether or not your employees are actually taking pictures of you on their phone that eventually is going to be published? Or are they recording your conversations? What’s the policy?
Stuart Oberman: [00:06:39] Social media policy. Is there restrictions? Internet policy? A pipeline was just hacked. Do you have a policy in place for your employees to log in remotely. Is it a separate computer? Is it a separate line? Internet line. Do you have a policy where they can’t check their emails on your desktop in your practice? Is there a dating policy in the workplace? What’s the policy? If you don’t have a workplace policy, are you setting yourself up for sexual harassment issues?
Stuart Oberman: [00:07:26] And that brings us to the next point. All policy manuals should have an anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, anti-bullying provision. How do you handle workplace violence? And how do you handle drug and alcohol in the workplace? What are you going to do if one of your employees comes back from a state that allows the uses of marijuana but violates your policy? What are you going to do? What are you going to do with violence? You have an employee, male or female, their spouses constantly coming up, their boyfriends coming up, their girlfriends coming up and harassing them in your office, harassing your staff, what are you going to do? Do you have a policy and procedure for that?
Stuart Oberman: [00:08:19] Bullying. Some employees are very aggressive, some are not aggressive, some are overly aggressive, how do you handle it? Anti-Discrimination, do you have a policy and procedure in place where you indicate that you will not tolerate any kind of violation of Title VII, race, color, creed, sexual origin. Anti-harassment, sexual or otherwise, what’s the policy? All these are issues that if you don’t address, the state and federal government will – primarily, federal – and you have EOC issue breathing down your neck very, very quickly if you don’t get this under control.
Stuart Oberman: [00:09:03] So, these are just a couple of things that we need to address from an HR standpoint. Do you have a termination policy? Do you have a review policy? Are your employees reviewed? Do you have a probation policy? Do you have a compliance reporting policy? Do you have a policy and procedure in place where they can report to an outside third party that they have sexual harassment issues, or anti-discrimination issues, or bullying, or workplace violence? What’s the policies in place for that? How do you handle it?
Stuart Oberman: [00:09:38] So, this is a very, very short podcast. Again, I could probably talk about five hours on this entire slide, but I want to make sure that this is a very synced and to-the-point issues. These issues do not involve changing the world of a massive overhaul in your practice. These are very, very simple issues that if addressed and addressed properly, you will save yourself, your staff a lot of headaches down the road.
Stuart Oberman: [00:10:12] So, HR, you got to know about it. You got to appoint someone to oversee this, you cannot do it, should not do it. You should be reviewing your policies and procedures, at least monthly. Implement any change, any security issues that you need. Do you have a policy in place if you are hacked? What do you do? How do you do it? How do you respond? Who are the people you’re going to call?
Stuart Oberman: [00:10:42] So, again, HR, huge issue, huge concern, COVID-19 sort of brought all this out into the forefront, but these are very, very specific things that we need to take a look at. So, if anyone has any questions, concerns, please feel free to give us a call – Oberman Law Firm, my name is Stuart Oberman – 770-554-1400 or send me an email, love to hear from you, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you again. And we so appreciate you listening to our podcast. And I wish everyone to have a fantastic day. Take care.
About Dental Law Radio
Hosted by Stuart Oberman, a nationally recognized authority in dental law, Dental Law Radio covers legal, business, and other operating issues and topics of vital concern to dentists and dental practice owners. The show is produced by the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX® and can be found on all the major podcast apps. The complete show archive is here.
Stuart Oberman, Oberman Law Firm
Stuart Oberman is the founder and President of Oberman Law Firm. Mr. Oberman graduated from Urbana University and received his law degree from John Marshall Law School. Mr. Oberman has been practicing law for over 25 years, and before going into private practice, Mr. Oberman was in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 Company. Mr. Oberman is widely regarded as the go-to attorney in the area of Dental Law, which includes DSO formation, corporate business structures, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory compliance, advertising regulations, HIPAA, Compliance, and employment law regulations that affect dental practices.
In addition, Mr. Oberman’s expertise in the health care industry includes advising clients in the complex regulatory landscape as it relates to telehealth and telemedicine, including compliance of corporate structures, third-party reimbursement, contract negotiations, technology, health care fraud and abuse law (Anti-Kickback Statute and the State Law), professional liability risk management, federal and state regulations.
As the long-term care industry evolves, Mr. Oberman has the knowledge and experience to guide clients in the long-term care sector with respect to corporate and regulatory matters, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). In addition, Mr. Oberman’s practice also focuses on health care facility acquisitions and other changes of ownership, as well as related licensure and Medicare/Medicaid certification matters, CCRC registrations, long-term care/skilled nursing facility management, operating agreements, assisted living licensure matters, and health care joint ventures.
In addition to his expertise in the health care industry, Mr. Oberman has a nationwide practice that focuses on all facets of contractual disputes, including corporate governance, fiduciary duty, trade secrets, unfair competition, covenants not to compete, trademark and copyright infringement, fraud, and deceptive trade practices, and other business-related matters. Mr. Oberman also represents clients throughout the United States in a wide range of practice areas, including mergers & acquisitions, partnership agreements, commercial real estate, entity formation, employment law, commercial leasing, intellectual property, and HIPAA/OSHA compliance.
Mr. Oberman is a national lecturer and has published articles in the U.S. and Canada.
Oberman Law Firm
Oberman Law Firm has a long history of civic service, noted national, regional, and local clients, and stands among the Southeast’s eminent and fast-growing full-service law firms. Oberman Law Firm’s areas of practice include Business Planning, Commercial & Technology Transactions, Corporate, Employment & Labor, Estate Planning, Health Care, Intellectual Property, Litigation, Privacy & Data Security, and Real Estate.
By meeting their client’s goals and becoming a trusted partner and advocate for our clients, their attorneys are recognized as legal go-getters who provide value-added service. Their attorneys understand that in a rapidly changing legal market, clients have new expectations, constantly evolving choices, and operate in an environment of heightened reputational and commercial risk.
Oberman Law Firm’s strength is its ability to solve complex legal problems by collaborating across borders and practice areas.
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