Category Archives: Employment Practices

False Claims Act: Employment Claims

This third blog on the False Claims Act is a wakeup call to long term care facilities and management companies (“LTCs”) in their training and employment practices.  It is well-known that LTCs have high employee turnover and difficulty finding applicants, especially for certified nursing assistants (“CNAs”).  In response, many LTCs operate in-house training programs to cultivate a pool of qualified CNAs for hiring.  Here’s the rub: LTCs can be sued under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) for providing services through unqualified or underqualified employees and seeking reimbursement for those services. In the U.S. Supreme Court’s Universal Health Services, Inc. v. …

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Employee Surveys: Survey Its Risks First

The long term care industry is known for high staff turnover, which can affect care.  Often, staff separation can burden the available employees with extra duties or shifts.  Residents bond with employees and mourn their separation.  In response to this phenomenon, facilities and management companies have been encouraged to implement employee satisfaction surveys, which raise numerous red flags with employment law defense attorneys. Employers can use employee satisfaction surveys for a multitude of well-intentioned reasons:  to make employees feel heard, to identify areas that need improvement, and to simply improve communication.  A younger workforce that values their voice being heard, …

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NLRB Sacks Long Term Care Facility’s Attempt to Avoid Class Actions

In Service Employees International Union v. Montecito Heights Healthcare & Wellness Centre, LP, Case No. 31-CA-129747, the NLRB ruled that a skilled nursing facility’s arbitration provision in its alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) policy requiring its unionized employees to waive their right to bring class actions or to act concertedly violated federal labor law.  If you are non-unionized, do not stop reading here because this ruling has the potential of being applied to non-union workplaces. The nursing facility’s ADR policy expressly prohibited “employees from joining a class action or representative action.” Relying on precedent promulgated by the NLRB in Murphy Oil …

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You Snooze, You Lose: What an Employer Should First Do When Notified of a Legal Action

It is never pleasant to receive notice of a legal proceeding against you, and employers often wait until the last minute to deal with it, or do worse by trying to eliminate relevant evidence.  Employers are reluctant to hire lawyers early because they believe it will be expensive and complicated. So, what should an employer do after it receives notice of a legal action?  Do the three Ps:  hire a Professional, Preserve evidence, and conduct a Preliminary Investigation. Hire a Professional Should an employer hire an attorney if it receives a lawsuit complaint or other notice of a claim? Absolutely, …

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Reducing The Risks of Employment Claims Relating to Long-Term Care Facilities: Part 1 – Preventing Lawsuits

Employers often believe there is no way to avoid employee claims and lawsuits, so they do nothing at all to prevent them. Or, employers, especially small employers, try to avoid any conflicts with employees and take a hands-off approach to managing employees for fear of causing a claim or lawsuit.  Unfortunately, these passive approaches are not stemming claims, especially in California.   As reported by the California Chamber of Commerce, employment claims and suits are on the rise, with wage and hour class action suits and retaliation claims leading the charge. Understanding the ever changing federal, state, and local laws affecting …

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Risky Business In California: Drug Testing Of Long-Term Care Workers

There may be no more vulnerable segment in our society than residents in long-term care (“LTC”) facilities – the aged, the physically disabled, the mentally and emotionally hurting. Not coincidentally, there may be no more powerful a group with the capacity to harm than those who care for LTC patients. Statistics don’t lie. According to the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 25% of Medicare patients in nursing homes suffered preventable injuries from 2008 to 2012. And, as reported by USA Today, “more than 100,000 doctors, nurses, medical technicians and healthcare aids are …

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Check, One-Two. Check, One-Two: Sounding Off In Favor of Employee Background Checks

Employee background checks can provide an abundance of useful information and a world of legal risk. Properly informed employers, however, can wield this double-edged sword with precision to find the best person for the job while avoiding liability for poor hiring decisions. In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of background checks; certain “barrier crimes” with unique application within the LTC industry; and general legal principles to keep in mind in order to avoid claims for employment discrimination. While background checks serve as the ultimate gatekeeper for employee trustworthiness, they also reduce litigation exposure; mitigate the risk of employee misconduct; and …

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