Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about coworker who get equal pay and cheats on her time:
I work in a small dental office. There is just the dentist, his assistant, one hygienist and I, the office manager. When I was hired 5 yrs. ago, I was being paid $2 more an hour than the dental assistant. The problems began shortly thereafter because she decided to get a divorce. She complained to the boss about her bills and he allowed her to come in on the off day and clean so I had to fire the cleaning lady. Next thing she was allowed to work all day 7.5 hours at her regular pay when the office is closed. Then he gave her a raise so that she was making more than I was.
When I found out, I confronted him so he equalized us. That was 1 year ago. Now he said he would review our production totals to see if raises are applicable. Meanwhile she has been cheating on her time card during regular work hours and on Fridays when we’re closed. She claims 7.5 hours and many times works only 4-5. She should not be paid the same as me.
My job description is much more difficult, demanding and stressful than hers. I know because I was a dental assistant before. The fact that I was paid more before and now am not really bothers me. Plus being paid regular pay when the office is closed, an extra weeks vacation since she’s working Fridays and the cheating on the time card is really too much. How do I approach this and can proper balance be restored?
Signed, Out-Managed By Our Dental Assistant
Dear Out-Managed By Our Dental Assistant:
You have two issues about your coworker that make you angry:1. Getting paid less than the Dental Assistant and 2. She is cheating on time. How do you confront these items? Now you have an opportunity to do so because you dentist said he would review your production to determine if raises are possible.
Q. How might you persuade him that your job requires more complex skills and responsibility than does the dental assistant’s? A. Make those tasks more visible. List in bold large font the tasks you must do as Office Manager! In a private meeting with your dentist, present that list along with any other reasons you think you deserve more, such as arguing that regular pay for cleaning does not equal your on-duty job. You might also show how your pay compares to office managers in other dentist’s offices.
Q. What should you do about cheating on time? A. Get the facts and confront her. If your role as Office Manager is not clearly stated regarding your approving/disapproving her hours worked, you need to get that clearly stated by your dentist and that should be made clear to her. As manager, do you make out the pay? If so, you have overlooked her fudging hours worked in the past, and you can tell her that you regret not confronting her earlier, but this must stop. And if it does not, you will report it to the dentist. You can be firm. It will be your word against hers unless you find a way to prove she is cheating, perhaps by having someone else also monitor her time. You can express your disappointment in her, especially because she has been given special extra work. She probably will not take your reprimand well, but you can say that the past will be past if from now on she puts in extra rather than less effort.
You might also propose that you dentist schedule time-out meetings weekly or biweekly to review how things have been going and confer about how they might go even more effectively. Almost every business has fat that can be cut and begs for ideas about it might function more effectively. The dentist may never have thought of himself as a coach. He can and should be if you all are to work as a team. Here is a way for you to be more that an Office Manager. This is an opportunity for you to be a cheerleader and champion of an exciting place to work, one that is worker-friendly and delights its patients. That is what I mean when I sign off: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. I will be interesting in what you elect to do and how it works out.