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when facing a lawsuit filed by an em- ployee. He says employers should avoid using overstatements that contain the words “always” and “never.” Employers should also refrain from editorializing with unprofessional written comments like “I can’t wait to hear his excuse to- day.”


A customized manual in a physician’s practice can aid in effective communi- cation and in implementation of human resources policies and procedures. (See “TMA Policies, Procedures Guide” page 46.) For additional information about state and federal employment rules, as well as tips to stay out of legal trouble, see “Avoiding the Courthouse,” August 2012 Texas Medicine, pages 33–38; and


“Follow the Law,” November 2010 Texas Medicine, pages 49–53.


The art of interviewing While keeping accurate personnel files on all employees is an important human resources responsibility for any medical practice, Ms. Ross says physicians also need to understand federal and state laws that preclude them from asking certain questions during interviews with job candidates. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of


1964 prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits questions about a person’s age. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects quali- fied individuals with disabilities from discrimination in employment, among other things. For more information about federal job discrimination laws, visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Com- mission website, www.eeoc.gov/facts/ qanda.html.


The Society for Human Resource


Management advises employers to avoid interview questions relating directly or indirectly to age, sex, race, color, na- tional origin, religion, or disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act contains specific prohibitions against asking an applicant if he or she has a disability and about an applicant’s workers’ compensa- tion history.


The society also says employers may ask if anything precludes an applicant from performing the essential functions of a position, but the interviewer should review the essential functions of the po- sition with applicants so they can make a determination. “Both human resources professionals and managers who will be interview-


ing should be well versed in federal and state law that regulates the types of questions that may be raised in an em- ployment interview. If you are not sure if a question violates federal or state law, you are better off not asking the ques- tion and checking with your legal coun- sel,” Ms. Ross said.


Personnel file documents list


TMA recommends employee personnel files contain the follow- ing documents:


• Resume, • Employment application, • Reference check, • Background check, • Wage and tax statement (W-4), • Job description, • Payroll information, • Health insurance enrollment form, • Long-term disability enrollment form (if offered), • 401(k) enrollment form (if offered), • Personnel policies acknowledgment form, • Attendance records, • Employment letter or offer, • Salary change information (as appropriate), • Performance reviews, • Warning or disciplinary letters, • New employee checklist, • Training checklist, • Signed receipt for clinic property (keys, identification badges, etc.),


• Signed confidentiality statement, • Emergency contact information, and • Letter of resignation or termination record.


Note: The employment eligibility verification form (I-9) and medical information records should be stored separately from the personnel file.


May 2013 TEXAS MEDICINE 45


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