Employees behaving badly: How to bounce back and respond (Proceedings)


Terry has been the lead technician for your practice for the past 5 years. Amber has been with you less than a year. Terry suspects that Amber has a drug problem.

Situation 1: Drug Use

Dr. Jones – Practice Owner

Susan – Practice Manager

Terry – Technician

Amber – Technician

Terry has been the lead technician for your practice for the past 5 years. Amber has been with you less than a year. Terry suspects that Amber has a drug problem. Amber has a history of coming in late; she sometimes seems confused and lacks focus, and has been bitten twice since she started work. The practice does not have a drug free workplace policy nor does it do pre-employment drug testing. Terry has come to the practice manager to voice her concern, she is worried that patient care may be affected and also worried that Amber may "do something stupid". The conversation starts off between Terry and Susan the practice manager.

Situation 2: Embezzlement

Dr. Simmons – Practice Owner

Paul – Practice Manager

Helen – Receptionist

The Simmons Veterinary Hospital is a 2 million hospital with 4 full time veterinarians. Dr. Simmons is the sole owner of the practice. Helen has been with the practice "forever", in fact she was there before Dr. Simmons purchased the practice and knows all the clients and all the clients love her. Recently Paul was hired as the practice manager of the practice and has instituted internal cash controls and an end of day procedure. Since Paul has done that he has had trouble with the end of day balancing. In fact it is short more times than not. He has reviewed the procedures will all the receptionists but has found that the shortages only occur when Helen is working. He has taken his concern to Dr. Simmons, but Dr. Simmons can't imagine that Helen is stealing from him "she is so nice and so good to the clients; she would never steal anything from me." The discussion starts out between Paul and Dr. Simmons with Paul stating his concerns.

Situation 3: Sexual Harassment

Dr. Harris – Practice Owner

Cindy – Practice Manager

Nick – Technician

Paula – Technician

All Creatures Animal Hospital is a large facility with over 70 employees. Both Nick and Paula are veterinary technicians who have been with the practice for over 4 years. Paula has recently come to Cindy with a problem. Paula has noticed that Nick is constantly on the internet when no one is looking or when it is slow and is viewing porn on the internet. In fact this morning Nick called Paula over to the computer and wanted to know "have you ever done that". Paula is very upset and wants to quit, she does not want to confront Nick, because everyone likes him and if she says anything to him, he will make her life miserable. The discussion begins with Paula coming into Cindy's office to tell her of what just happened.

Situation 4: Rude Employee

Dr. Wood – Practice Owner

Nancy – Practice Manager

Stephanie – Head Technician

Sally – Technician

The Rose Veterinary Clinic is a small hospital in a small community. Dr. Rose is the sole owner and has been in business for 15 years. Stephanie the head technician has also been with the practice for 15 years; she opened the practice with Dr. Rose and has been by her side the entire time. Stephanie is not very nice to other employees. New employees quickly learn you do what Stephanie says or she will make your life miserable, and in fact if you are not on Stephanie's side you will probably not be employed by the practice for very long. Stories abound about how she has gotten other employees fired. Stephanie all does not follow the rules, she thinks she is better than anyone else and is entitled to do whatever she wants. She will come in late, not get all her work done, take smoking breaks all during the day and if she wants leave early. Of course Stephanie is Dr. Rose's favorite employee; Dr. Rose feels she "owes" Stephanie because Stephanie stayed with her in the early years when things were really tough. Sally is a new technician she has been with the practice now for 2 months and has had to endure the wrath of Stephanie, but this morning was the final straw. Dr. Rose was upset because a patient did not receive it treatment last night, Stephanie said it was Sally's fault, when in fact it was Stephanie who was supposed to do it, she lied to Dr. Rose. Sally has decided to quit her job, it just isn't worth it. The discussion begins with Sally coming into Nancy's office to inform her she has decided to quit her job.

Situation 5: Inventory Control

Dr. Pace – Practice Owner

Michael – Practice Manager

Linda – Inventory Manager

The All Pet Animal Hospital is a 24 hour facility. They gross over $5 million a year and have 65 employees. Linda is the inventory manager of the practice. She used to be a technician, but became tired of doing that work and Michael and Dr. Pace thought it would be a good idea for Linda to take on the responsibility of inventory control because she is a very detailed person and in their estimation would do a good job. Linda has had this responsibility now for over a year, inventory costs to gross are still running around 18% even though Michael has had numerous meeting with Linda and told her she need to keep the inventory below 16%. Linda is also spending all her time on this, does not do any technician work anymore and has asked Michael for some additional help, because she can't get it all done herself. Recently Dr. Pace had lunch with a salesperson, during lunch the salesperson asked Dr. Pace if the employees liked the free flea control medication she left for all the employees. Dr. Pace did not know anything about that and when she returned to the practice she inquired with Michael who also did not know anything about it. After further investigation it turns out Linda received many free samples and gifts, which she kept for herself, she thinks she deserves them because she is working so hard. The discussion starts out with Michael and Dr. Pace talking about Linda and what they should do about this situation.

Situation 6: Discounting

Dr. Roe – Practice Owner

Alice – Practice Manager

Dr. Free – Associate Veterinarian

Dr. Roe is the owner of the All Pet Animal Hospital, a two doctor hospital in a small community. Dr. Free joined the practice about a year ago and is a "very nice doctor". He gets along well with the other employees, and clients love him. The problem with Dr. Free is that he always feels bad for clients and discounts their bills. Dr. Roe and Alice have spoken to him about this numerous times, but recently Alice ran the fee exception report and found that Dr. Free failed to charge for over $4,000.00 of services last month. Alice has also been told by some of the technicians that they have been told by Dr. Free not to tell Alice or Dr. Roe when he "gives" things away. Dr. Free has told the technicians that he feels the practice is too money oriented and all the owner cares about is money, money, money. The discussion starts out with Dr. Free being called into the office where Alice and Dr. Roe need to now discuss this problem with him.

Situation 7: Employee Blogs

Dr. Nelson – Practice Owner

Jean – Practice Manager

Emily – Receptionist

The Nelson veterinary hospital is located in California. The practice has four full time veterinarians and a team of 23. Emily is a receptionist and has been with the practice for three years. It has recently come to your attention that Emily has been keeping a blog about her job and therefore the practice on the internet. In reading this blog you find that Emily is discussing many issues and problems that really should not be public knowledge. She has blogged about some irritating clients, actually using their names, has written about other employees in the practice, also using their names and even written about some situations that occurred such as a patient escaping the practice that could be embarrassing to the practice. The discussion starts with Jean and Dr. Nelson calling Emily into the practice to discuss this situation.

Situation 8: Sexual Harassment

Dr. Hope – Practice Owner

Jaymee – Practice Manager

Dr. Stevens – Associate Veterinarian

Dr. Hope started the Hope veterinary hospital 30 years ago. He has built the practice up from scratch and now has a very strong two doctor practice. Dr. Hope is intending to retire in the next few years and wishes to sell his practice to Dr. Stevens, who has been with him for 5 years. Dr. Stevens is a good veterinarian, clients like him, and he has indicated that he would like to purchase the practice. Tiffany, your technician has asked to speak to you and has told you that Dr. Stevens has made inappropriate statements to her, has continually been asking her out and basically harassing her. She is not interested in him and has told him so, but he will not give up. This morning he again made some inappropriate comments and put his arm around her which she took offense to. Jaymee, the practice manager was aware of this and had brought it to Dr. Hope's attention, but Dr. Hope just said "Oh, he is fine, he is just being friendly, don't worry about it". Tiffany is now in your office crying and threatening to file a harassment suite against you.

Situation 9: Videotaping

Dr. Brace – Practice Owner

Aaron – Practice Manager

Dr. Miles – Associate Veterinarian

The All Pet Animal Hospital is a small animal veterinary located in California. Dr. Brace has four associate full time veterinarians working at this practice. They are all paid on the ProSal method of compensation. Recently Dr. Brace attended a management seminar at the CVC in Kansas City and learned of videotaping in the exam room as a way to help his team be more effective and productive. Dr. Brace discussed this with his team and met with a fair bit of resistance, but decided to incorporate this idea anyway. He held a meeting with his entire team informing them they he would be videotaping in the exam room, posted a sign in each exam room and started the process. Dr. Brace and Aaron have been very surprised at what they have seen. Some doctors are very good, other have some issues. Aaron and Dr. Brace have been working with the team and reviewing the video tape with them. Most all the doctors have come to learn how valuable a tool this is and have embraced it. In fact, three of the four associates have seen their average transaction increase by $20.00. Dr. Miles is not so happy however. Dr. Miles recently had a visit videotaped and in the review it was pointed out that he was not offering a full service approach, his body language was poor, and he failed to charge for a skin scraping that he did. During the review, Dr. Miles got very upset and stated that he did not want to be videotaped anymore and if the practice insisted he was going to quit. The discussion begins with Dr. Miles in Dr. Brace's office with Aaron also present.

Situation 10: H1N1 Virus

Dr. Howard – Practice Owner

Julie – Practice Manager

The Howard Animal Hospital is a large veterinary facility, they have a 24 hour emergency service, offer specialty as a general practice services and a wellness clinic. The hospital has 80+ support team members and nine associate veterinarians. This morning Julie came in the practice to a big surprise. There have seen a lot of employees calling in sick lately, but Julie found out this morning that two of them have been confirmed with H1N1 virus. One team member is a doctor, the other a receptionist. Julie is not sure what to do, the employees are upset and want to close the practice and go home. The discussion starts with Julie going to Dr. Howard and informing her of the situation.

Situation 11: Turnover

Dr. Silver – Practice Owner

Dr. Grey – Practice Owner

Raymond – Practice Manager

The Cat Hospital is a feline only practice located in Kansas City. Raymond has been the practice manager for less than a year and came from a dental office where he managed 10 employees. The Cat Hospital has been trying to hire a new technician. In fact they have hired three in the past four months and this morning the latest technician quit her job. It seems that they can't keep an employee. Dr. Silver and Dr. Grey are wondering if it has something to do with Raymond or if it is just the way it is. They have decided to have a conversation with Raymond and have called him into the office. The discussion starts with Raymond entering the office where Dr. Silver and Dr. Grey wish to talk to him.

Situation 12: Pregnancy Leave

Dr. Berry – Practice Owner

Eric – Practice Manager

Dr. Nash – Associate Veterinarian

The Berry Animal Hospital is a small practice located in Ohio. Dr. Berry only has one associate veterinarian who is Dr. Nash. Dr. Nash has been with the practice for four years and is an excellent veterinarian. Recently Dr. Nash has informed Dr. Berry that she is pregnant and because of some family history problems with pregnancy her doctor has advised her that she will need to take off the last three months of her pregnancy and be restricted to bed rest. Dr. Nash intends to come back to the practice on a full time basis once the baby is born. Dr. Berry sympathizes with Dr. Nash but this means that she will be out July, August and September which are the busiest months of the year. Dr. Berry informs Dr. Nash that if she needs to have the three months off, he cannot hold the job for her and he is going to have to find a new veterinarian for the practice. Dr. Nash is upset, says he can't do that and she is going to sue the practice. The discussion begins with Dr. Nash informing Dr. Berry of the situation.

Situation 13: Controlled Substances

Dr. Brown – Practice Owner

Heather – Practice Manager

Kelly – Veterinary Technician

The Brown Animal hospital is a four doctor veterinary hospital located in Denver, Colorado. They provide both large and small animal services. Kelly is the head technician and has been with the practice for eight years. One of Kelly's duties is to maintain the control drug logs in the practice. Heather, the practice manager, is new to the practice but she has worked at other veterinary hospitals as a practice manager and is familiar with a hospital's operations. Since Heather has come to the practice the controlled drug logs have not balanced. She has spoken to Kelly about this several times, but Kelly has said "they are close enough, I have been doing the logs for eight years and there has never been a problem". Heather decided to maintain some of the logs on her own without Kelly knowing and this morning has found that there is a bottle of Ketamine missing. She has suspected Kelly of drug abuse, but has not been able to prove it. She thinks Kelly is stealing drugs and either using them or selling them. The situation starts out with Heather calling Kelly into the office to discuss this problem.

Situation 14: Rude Doctor

Dr. Evans – Practice Owner

Betsy – Practice Manager

Dr. Cohen – Board Certified Surgeon

Cindy – Head Technician

The Evans Veterinary Hospital is a large hospital located in New Jersey. They have 5 general practice veterinarians and several specialists including a board certified surgeon. Recently, Cindy the Head Technician has come to Betsy to inform her that "all the surgical technicians have come to her and stated that they refuse to work with Dr. Cohen". Dr. Cohen is the board certified surgeon, he is the most productive veterinarian in the practice and he generates many, many referrals, however he is not very nice. Dr. Cohen is very abrupt with the employees and has told them that they need to do whatever he says; he does not care what Betsy or Dr. Evans say, he is the boss in the surgery and they are to do what he says and not question it. He said yesterday that they are all worthless and can be replaced. The technicians have decided that they do not want to work with him anymore and put up with his behavior. The discussion starts with Betsy asking to speak with Dr. Evans to inform him of what is going on.

Situation 15: 60 Day Review

Dr. Frank – Practice Owner

Bruce – Practice Manager

Kathy - Veterinary Assistant

The Frank Veterinary Hospital is located in California. It is a medium size veterinary hospital, it has three veterinarians including Dr. Frank and a team of 20 support staff. Bruce, the practice manager has been the manager since the practice opened, he is a good friend of Dr. Frank, but has had no formal training as a manager. Recently, Bruce hired Kathy as a Veterinary Assistant. He has not been very impressed with her performance, but has not said anything to her, because he did not want to upset her and in truth Bruce is non-confrontational and really would rather not deal with these kinds of problems, but knows he has to. It is now 60 days after Kathy has been hired and Bruce decides he needs to do a 60 day performance review with Kathy. Kathy has not been given a job description of any kind of formal training. Bruce feels they are not necessary, "employees will pick it up on their own". In Bruce's eyes Kathy does not understand the job; she is still very slow, is not communicating well with clients in the exam room or assisting the technicians as she should be. The discussion starts with Bruce calling Kathy into his office to begin the 60 day review.

Situation 16: Employee Discounts

Dr. Roberts – Practice Owner

Kelly – Practice Manager

The Roberts Veterinary Hospital is a fairly large veterinary hospital located in Connecticut. It has 6 full time veterinarians and a support team of about 40 employees. Dr. Roberts is the practice owner recently read in Veterinary Economics that any employee discount on professional services greater than 20% must show as un-earned income on the employees W-2. She was not aware of this before and is the type of person that complies with all laws and regulations. She wants to be in compliance and is afraid of an IRS audit, so she informs her team of this law and that from now on they will only receive a 20% discount on professional services and 10% over cost on inventory items. The team is livid, they feel that they receive minimum benefits as it is and now she is taking away one that they really need. The team has gotten together outside of the practice and decided to band together and demand they get their 50% discount or they will all quit. Kelly, the practice manager has learned of this meeting and what the team intends to do and has come to Dr. Roberts to inform her of the situation. The discussion begins with Kelly and Dr. Roberts discussion this situation.

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