Doctor’s report

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about employer asking for evidence of illness:

I have been off work for the last 2 weeks and yesterday my Doctor signed me off for a further month. My workplace is now asking for a Doctor’s Report. Can they do this?

Signed, Frustrated

Dear Frustrated:

Yes, your workplace can ask for a reasonable amount of information to determine whether they think you could return if work was adjusted, or if they think the time off is excessive. Most HR sections are aware of what can be requested and your doctor will almost certainly know the limitations of what he or she can and will provide.It appears there is a conflict about your time off and your injury. Have you considered talking to your manager and HR about it? I suggest this because I have repeatedly seen employees who were out on injuries become so alienated from their managers and others that they never were able to regain a positive feeling about work. At the same time, those at work–managers and coworkers, resented what was perceived as malingering to get paid while not working.

read more

Hard Hats

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about hard hats:

Hello, Its seems that painters never want to wear hard hats is this a national phenomenon?

Signed, Frustrated

Dear Frustrated:

We aren’t experts on occupational safety issues, but I can comment on a couple of aspects of this issue. (And since I’m interested in everything new for me, this piqued my interest!) First, a brief search of state and federal OSHA regulations discloses that hard hats are required in commercial operations when employees are working in areas where there is a possible danger of head injury from impact, or from flying objects, or from electrical shock and [electrical] burns. Some portions of various regulations add the issue of being splattered by harmful chemicals.The regulations are written to describe risk, not occupation. So, not all painters would need to wear hard hats, only those who might fall from heights and suffer head injury or who might be hit by falling objects. If the painting job involved the use of ladders or scaffolds or if the painter might be hit by something, hard hats would be required in commercial work. It appears from the regulations that once the painter left the ladder or scaffold and started painting while standing at ground level or floor level, hard hats would only be required if there was a risk of falling objects. (As I said, I’m not knowledgeable about any of those regulations, it’s just the way I read and interpret them.) Y

read more

Overtime Pay By-passed?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about ignoring over-time pay:

The company I work for in California is open for business Monday to Saturday. Saturday is not an actual business day when it comes to customer’s business. Non-exemp employees are scheduled to work over 40 hours a week, i.e. 5 days @ 8 hrs. a day and 5 hrs. on Saturday. However, we do not get overtime since they state their work week is Monday through Saturday. They make us take off 5 hours the next week to compensate for this time. I was under the impression that in California we would be entitled to overtime. Please let me know your interpretation? Thank You, your help will be greatly appreciated.

read more

Criteria for Awards

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about awards:

I am looking for criteria to determine the doctors who deserve rewards and recognitions in our acute care facility.

Signed, Needing Information

Dear Needing Information:

Hello! I think you will need a resource that is more focused specifically on medical staff and organizations. We are a workplace communications site. However, we have had requests similar to yours, so I can make a few suggestions. First, I suggest you check sites for critical care specialties, such as the Society for Critical Care and others. Often these organizations have heard it all when it comes to programs or practices.Another option is to contact facilities similar to yours to see what they are doing…and I’m sure you have done that already!

read more

Is it Everyone Or No One With Time Clocks?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about hours clocked:

Is it discrimination for some employees to punch a time clock while others don’t have to? All employees are union.

Signed, Wondering about time clock unfairness

Dear Wondering about time clock unfairness:

If your workplace is unionized your union representative would have resources for providing an answer to your question. However, I can provide some thoughts in a general sense.No, it is not discrimination to have different work rules within the same work setting–unless there are violations of state or federal laws or union contracts, requiring some consistency.Time clocks work well for having a mechanical record of when people are at work. There can be no favoritism or mistakes if an employee puts a card into a clock and it punches the time on it. This is better for most people and organizations than having everyone report to a supervisor to verify they are ready for work at the assigned time, or that they are leaving at the correct time. Some work does not lend itself to that method, because employees may often arrive late but stay late due to work requirements, or arrive early, and go home early to avoid getting overtime pay. A time clock is also not necessary when supervisors or managers can easily see when someone is present, for example in a small workplace where someone has either turned on their computer for the day or they have not, for example.

read more

Can Health Insurance Be Cancelled By Boss?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about health insurance:

My boss decided to stop paying the premium on my health insurance and did not tell me. I used my insurance and am now being billed by the hospital, lab and doctors office.Is this legal?

Signed, Angry

Dear Angry:

There are no laws requiring an employer to provide health insurance benefits. Once the insurance is provided there certainly is an expectation that it will continue–but the employer is not required to do so. Contact the Department of Labor for your state, or go to their website, to see if there are state requirements that might affect this. The size of your business is a key issue as well. If there are only one or two employees, regulations may not apply. You might also want to contact an attorney who specializes in employment law and ask for a free consultation to see if it seems likely you could sue your employer to recover the costs. It might be worth it to you to pay for an attorney to save the money of the medical bills. Or, they might take the case on a contingency basis where your employer would have to pay for court costs.Of course, you will likely not be working for that employer, if you do that.First, talk to your boss civilly and ask why you were not notified. Or, if you were notified, ask to see a copy of the notification letter. Ask what options the employer had in mind for replacing this benefit.

read more

Can We Be Sent Home To Avoid Overtime?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about hours:

If I have gone over my weekly hours can my boss send me home early, rather than pay me the overtime?

Signed, Wondering

Dear Wondering:

Hello, thanks for contacting us. Generally, in both the US and UK, employers can adjust schedules to avoid paying overtime. In fact, it is a fairly common practice–and one that is encouraged in most companies as well as government. However, to be on the safe side, you may want to check with your Department of Labor or a similar group, to see if there are laws that affect this issue.Although many employees do not want to work more than a standard work week, many employees prefer to not have their work schedule be so irregular. And, it’s frustrating to work many hours later one day, but not get paid anything extra for it, because the shift is shortened the next day.Sometimes this practice of adjusting shifts is a result of management not planning their staffing schedules very well. But, you may not be able to do anything about it if you stay working there.If your company is a large one, you might find out if every section is doing the same thing, or if this is just something your manager or supervisor is doing to look good. Probably that is not the case, but it might be worthwhile to check on. You might also talk to your supervisor about this and see if schedules can be adjusted or changed to prevent extra work hours. Such extra hours can be very punitive for people with families or those who go to school or have other set activities after regular work hours.Best wishes as you work to either get this changed, or to find a way to make it work within your specific lifestyle and needs.

read more

Wellness Program Seems More Like Harassment

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a “wellness” program:

Our company has set up a “wellness” program. If you have a chronic condition, you are automatically enrolled. Once you are enrolled, you are harassed everyday with phone calls that amount to “nag” sessions. The information they give you is pithy — You can get better information about treatment or disease management from WebMD. Many people who are having problems are having them because of our bad management (last company survey said that only 29% of the employees trust them) and the fact that we are looking at a 60% reduction in force in October. How can we legally tell them to quit calling us?

read more

Paid Less Than Co-Worker

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about unfair pay:

I have an issue that a co-worker is getting paid around 2.00 more per hour than me. She had quit and was called back as another worked was fired. She has no more experience than I do, and less professionalism.It really makes me feel like quitting, even though I need my job. It is so unfair! Should I talk to my employer? How?

Signed, Deserving And Not Getting

Dear Deserving And Not Getting:

Salary differences are very difficult to understand, and I can imagine you are upset. It might be, since another employee was fired, your employer felt he had to pay a premium to get someone on the job right away. In that case his view may be that you are being paid correctly and he does not want to escalate the salary of the position, but he had to pay extra just to get someone hired quickly.

read more

Family Leave For Father-In-Law

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about sick leave caring for someone:

My father-in law-has brain cancer. He is 85 and probably will live three months to a year. This question is not about medical advice but about workplace support and policies regarding sick leave. My wife has been taking much care of him with some help from her siblings. The stress is difficult and she got in a wreck recently driving her father two hours to the hospital to get an MRI (I won’t get started on a health system that makes old people commute to service..What ever happened to house calls?? Anyway, I am wondering if I go to help her with her father if this constitutes legitimate family leave which our organization does have. I probably wouldn’t be doing a lot 8 hours a day, though I would be a designated driver but probably more importantly a body of support. Any thoughts, suggestions of how to ask if it is deemed legitimate. I mean it’s more than just visiting the in laws for a trip. Thanks as always,

read more