Tag Archives: employer compliance

Why Exit Interviews are Important in the Compliance Landscape

Contributed by Suzannah Wilson Overholt, December 14, 2018

Exit interviews have been a mainstay of the HR world for years.  They are most often viewed as a means of obtaining insights into employee satisfaction reExit Interviewlated issues, such as compensation, benefits and work environment.  However, such interviews are a valuable component of a compliance program designed to prevent, detect and stop potential or existing fraudulent or otherwise illegal conduct.  This is especially true in the health care industry.

Why health care?  The media has regular accounts of various types of health care providers being investigated or sued under the False Claims Act (FCA) or other statutes governing the behavior of providers who receive money as part of the federal health care programs, e.g. Medicare and Medicaid.  The number of FCA actions being brought each year has increased dramatically, with most of them being brought by current or former employees of the entity being sued.  The rise of these so-called qui tam actions is what should give any entity with federal contracts reason to double down on identifying fraud, waste and abuse.  If the provider does not identify it, an employee may and that employee will not hesitate to blow the whistle to the government.

This is where exit interviews come in.  The goal is not to identify whistleblowers or take action against them.  Rather the goal is to develop the trust of employees so they will share their knowledge and work with the provider to correct the conduct rather than make an external report or file a qui tam action.

When it is feasible to do so, conduct exit interviews in-person and well in advance of the employee’s last day rather than as part of the usual exit process of completing paperwork and turning in company property. Those conducting the interviews must be properly trained to obtain useful information and should not be the exiting employee’s supervisor.

If a face-to-face interview is not possible, have a questionnaire ready to go that can be sent to the individual. Employees who have already left the organization may be more forthcoming. Do not exclude involuntarily terminated employees. They may share more because they feel they have nothing to lose.

The interview should primarily be the responsibility of HR, with limited involvement by compliance. The interviewers should ask whether the exiting employee observed any violations of laws, regulations, the Code of Conduct, or policies. The compliance office should be told about any reported violations. Any management, regulatory, or legal issue raised should be addressed before the employee leaves employment, if possible. Doing so may prevent the employee from reporting the issues externally.

Finally, keep a record of the process – any and all communications with the employee regarding an exit interview or follow-up questionnaire, what the employee said during the interview, and steps taken in response to what was said.  In addition, follow up with the employee to report what action was taken in response to the allegations.

Note: The following articles are great additional resources for this topic and I encourage you to review.

2017 Compliance Check Up

Contributed by Sara Zorich, January 19, 2017

We are now almost three weeks into the New Year and while it might be tempting to ease into 2017, the time is now to ensure that the required compliance updates have been made to your payroll and Form I-9 procedure to comply with the 2017 changes.

Minimum Wage

The following 21 states have updates to their minimum wage that affect your payroll for 2017:

  1. Alaska (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $9.75 to $9.80.
  2. Arizona (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $8.05 to $10.00.
  3. Arkansas (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $8.00 to $8.50.
  4. California (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $10.00 to $10.50.
  5. Colorado (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $8.31 to $9.30.
  6. Connecticut (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $9.60 to $10.10.
  7. Florida (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $8.05 to $8.10.
  8. Hawaii (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $8.50 to $9.25.
  9. Maine (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $7.50 to $9.00.
  10. Massachusetts (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $10.00 to $11.00.
  11. Maryland (Effective July 1, 2017) – minimum wage increases from $8.75 to $9.25.
  12. Michigan (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $8.50 to $8.90.
  13. Missouri (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $7.65 to $7.70.
  14. Montana (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $8.05 to $8.15.
  15. New Jersey (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $8.38 to $8.44.
  16. New York (Effective 12/31/16) –minimum wage increases from $9 to $9.70.
  17. Ohio (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $8.10 to $8.15.
  18. Oregon (Effective July 1, 2017) – statewide minimum wage increases from $9.75 to $10.25 (Portland Metro minimum wage increase from $9.75 to $11.25).
  19. South Dakota (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $8.55 to $8.65.
  20. Vermont (Effective 1/1/17) – minimum wage increases from $9.60 to $10.00.
  21. Washington (Effective 1/1/17) –minimum wage increase from $9.47 to $11.00.

Employers should ensure that these required changes have been conveyed to your payroll manager and payroll provider and perform an audit to ensure that the change was made effective in your payroll system.

Form I-9

As we reported on November 17, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released the new version of the Form I-9 on November 14, 2016. NO LATER THAN January 22, 2017, employers MUST use the revised form (dated 11/14/2016 N) for all new hires and any employee that requires reverification of employment eligibility.

Employers should review their Form I-9 practices, ensure they are complying by using the new form by the deadline, and train employees responsible for completing the form regarding the new form requirements.

California Expands Employees’ Access to Personnel Files

Contributed by Paul Jaquez

On September 30, 2012, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (A.B.) 2674, which amplifies the rights of employees vis-à-vis their personnel files.  Beginning on January 1, 2013, employers in California will be required to permit employees – both current and former – the right to inspect and copy personnel files and records.  The law has two important modifications.  First, the law now imparts the same rights to former employees to access their personnel files as that currently maintained by current employees.  Second, while employees had previously been permitted to inspect their personnel files, employees had not been entitled to receive an actual copy of the file, but rather, only receive copies of the actual documents that the employee had signed.  Now, however, current and former employees, or their designated representatives, can receive a copy of the contents of their entire personnel file, provided they pay the cost of copying.

Employer Compliance

  • Employers must develop, and provide upon request, a written form which permits an employee to request access and/or copy their personnel file.
  • Employers must produce such a copy within 30 calendar days of the written request.
  • Failure to comply can result in the employers being fined $750 (plus attorneys’ fees if necessary, which is awarded to the employee.

Best Practices Going-Forward

  • Develop a form that complies with the written request for inspection and copying the personnel file.
  • Review that only the required documents are properly kept in personnel files.

  • Documents employees are entitled to include the following:
    • Application for employment;
    • Payroll authorization form;
    • Notices of commendation, warning, discipline, and/or termination;
    • Notices of layoff, leave of absence, and vacation;
    • Notices of wage attachment or garnishment;
    • Education and training notices and records;
    • Performance appraisals/reviews; and
    • Attendance records.
  • Documents employees are NOT entitled to include the following:
    • Records relating to the investigation of a possible criminal offense;
    • Letters of reference;
    • Ratings, reports, or records that were obtained prior to employment, prepared by identifiable examination committee members, or obtained in connection with a promotional examination.