|Aug. 3, 2015 | www.fisherphillips.com|
Healthcare institutions have a moral and legal obligation to promote patient safety as an essential component of patient care. Supervisors and managers must be supportive of their staffs while remaining vigilant about the enforcement of appropriate standards of care. Staff members who fail to meet those standards are subject to discipline, up to and including termination, and may also be reported to the appropriate licensing board or agency. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong.
The number of claims filed under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) have skyrocketed in recent years. The latest figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) highlight a dramatically increased enforcement effort by the government in administering the federal privacy law.
Employers have long understood that they face potential liability when an employee is sexually harassed by another employee and they do nothing to prevent or fix the known problem. It is also true, but perhaps less well known, that similar liability can result when employees are harassed by customers, patients, or other nonemployees. Ignorance of this potential liability can be costly, but you can minimize your risks by following a simple three-step plan.
In a case dubbed “the mystery of the devious defecator” by a Georgia federal district judge, an Atlanta jury recently awarded a $2.2 million verdict against a company that requested DNA samples from two workers in an attempt to identify who had been leaving feces around the workplace.