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Healthcare Human Resource Management Flynn Mathis Jackson Langan. Employee Relations in the Healthcare Industry. Chapter 10. PowerPoint Presentation by Tonya L. Elliott, PHR. Learning Objectives. After you have read this chapter, you should be able to:

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healthcare human resource management flynn mathis jackson langan

Healthcare Human Resource ManagementFlynn Mathis Jackson Langan

Employee Relations

in the Healthcare Industry

Chapter 10

PowerPoint Presentation by

Tonya L. Elliott, PHR

learning objectives
Learning Objectives

After you have read this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Review the common components of an employment agreement
  • Define Employment-At-Will and identify exceptions to this concept
  • Describe due process and explain alternative dispute resolution processes
  • Explain the whistleblower doctrine and apply the concepts to the healthcare industry
  • Discuss issues associated with drug testing for healthcare employees
  • Identify elements common to employee handbooks
  • Outline the progressive discipline process
employer employee relations
Employer Employee Relations

Employee Relations Philosophy

  • All aspects of how an organization treats and responds to its employees
  • Includes how it communicates with employees
  • May serve as a strategic advantage
  • Critical to healthcare organizations in retention efforts
employee rights statutory
Employee Rights: Statutory
  • Federal and state regulations
  • Equal employment opportunity (EEO)
  • Health and safety regulations (OSHA)
  • Employee benefits law (ERISA)
  • Wage and hour law (FLSA)
  • Case law
  • Professional association guidelines
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Unemployment compensation
employee rights contractual
Employee Rights: Contractual
  • Employment contracts/agreements

- Formal agreements between employer and employee about their working relationship

  • Separation agreements
  • Retention agreements

- Designed to retain key employees during mergers, consolidations, or changes in organizational leadership and Board representation

  • Training contracts
  • Drug testing permissions
employment contract contents
Employment Contract Contents
  • Terms of contract
  • Provisions for renewing contract
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Severance benefit
  • Non-compete clauses
  • Non-solicitation clauses
  • Dispute-resolution clauses
  • Change-in-control clauses
  • Termination and resignation clauses

Review & rescission rights

Employee allowed period of

time to review contract and

rescind agreement after signing

other rights responsibilities
Other Rights & Responsibilities

Implied Contracts

  • Unwritten agreements between employers and employees
  • Examples: oral agreements or employee handbooks

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)

  • Protects healthcare organizations from lawsuits initiated by their employees

the right to hire, fire, and promote whomever they choose


the right to terminate their employment for any time for any reason


3 Exceptions

Public-policy violation - when employee is fired for reporting illegal activities by the employer

Implied contract – might suggest an employee will be employed indefinitely in exchange for satisfactory job performance

Good faith & fair dealing – employer/employee must treat each other fairly



Wrongful Discharge & Documentation

Wrongful discharge

Termination of employee for reasons that are illegal, improper, or inconsistent with organizational policies

Documentation for wrongful discharge lawsuits

  • New employee orientation materials
  • Employee handbook
  • Discharge letters
  • Performance appraisals
  • Job description
  • Discipline process and performance management

Constructive Discharge & Due Process

Constructive Discharge

  • Creating impossible working conditions that force an employee to resign
  • Employees may be awarded back pay and punitive damages

Due Process

  • Opportunity for an employee to explain and defend their actions during the disciplinary process
  • Employers should provide due process to avoid negative decisions by outside investigators

Resolving Employee Complaints

Alternative Dispute Resolutions

  • Methods of resolving disputes between employees and their employers
  • Arbitration

A neutral third party hears both sides and gives binding decision

  • Peer Review Panels

Internal committee of employees review employee complaints and make recommendations and/or decisions

  • Employee Ombudsman

A staff employee who administers a program designed to resolve disputes


Employer Security & Employee Rights

Employee Records - Personnel File Contents


  • Application for employment
  • New employee orientation information – checklist
  • Letter offering the job
  • Employee group insurance benefit forms
  • Compensation records
  • Performance appraisals
  • Performance management documentation

Does Not Include:

X Employee health files

X Performance comments by co-workers


Employees’ Right to Free Speech


  • Employee’s free speech protected when reporting employer public-policy violations
  • Employers may not retaliate against employees
  • Example: Medicare fraud and abuse

Monitoring E-mail/Voicemail & Tracking Internet Use

E-mail & voice-mail: an employee privacy issue

Internet use: concerns about reduced productivity

HR policies: limit technology for business use only

train employees on policies

require employees to sign acknowledgement forms


Honesty in the Workplace

Significant problem in healthcare:

Problem prevention:

Background checks on applicants

Employer investigations methods:

Honesty/Integrity testing

Assessing off-duty behaviors

Drug testing

Reviewing employee records

Background checks

Drug theft


HR Policies, Procedures, & Rules


General statements about the organization’s position on an issue


Define the customary way an organization deals with the policy issue


Define expected behaviors of employees at work


Methods for Communicating HR Policies

  • Employee Handbooks
  • Memos
  • Newsletters
  • Meetings with management
  • Computer message boards
  • E-mail

Upward communication:

  • Suggestion Systems

Steps of Progressive Discipline

  • Counseling
    • Bring the problem to the employee’s attention & discuss how to make improvements
    • Manager should be positive & encouraging
  • Verbal Warning
    • Point out performance deficiencies & explain importance of improving performance
    • Manager may offer additional training or other resources

Steps of Progressive Discipline (cont’d)

  • Written Warning
    • Job expectations are outlined in writing
    • Manager may offer additional training or other resources
    • Includes statement of consequence if job expectations not met
  • Suspension
    • Length of suspension depends on severity of performance deficiency
  • Discharge
    • When an employee cannot or will not perform satisfactorily

Discipline Decisions

Some managers may be reluctant to discipline:

*Fear of lawsuits *Lack of support from organization

*Fear of retaliation *Dislike by employees

*Loss of friendship *Guilt

*Not being liked *Time & energy to manage process


Train managers on effective use of discipline


Innovative Employee Relations Strategies

Employee Attitude Surveys

  • Encourages feedback from employees
  • Measures employee morale
  • Analyzes problem areas which can prompt action plans

Employee Assistance Programs

  • May be offered through internal programs or outside vendor
  • Offers employee assistance in their personal and professional lives

Substance abuse

Legal assistance

Financial issues

Marital issues

Interpersonal issues


Innovative Employee Relations Strategies (cont’d)

Employer of Choice (EOC) Programs

  • Long-term top management commitment
  • Defined organizational purpose
  • Innovative and competitive compensation & benefits
  • Staff-development opportunities
  • Rewards for innovation and creativity
  • Rewards aligned with performance
  • Culture that respects diversity, encourages self participation, and rewards employee and organizational success

Innovative Employee Relations Strategies (cont’d)

Reward & Recognition Programs

Standards of Behavior




Fairness & Equity


Self Care


Personal Accountability