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Can a supervisor legally tell me I can't stay after the end of my shift (on my own time) to finish my charting/documentation/phone calls?

Wednesday April 9, 2014
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

Can a supervisor legally tell me that I can't stay after the end of my shift (on my own time) to finish my charting/documentation/phone calls? The physician I work with is twice as busy as the NPs in our office and I have trouble getting everything addressed by end of shift. I think she's trying to get me fired.

Jean



Dear Nancy replies:

Dear Jean,

It seems as though this situation needs to be discussed with the physician and any NPs with whom you work. For whatever reason, the supervisor does not want you to stay after work to finish your documentation, and paying you for this time does not appear to be an issue, at least as far as you are concerned.

However, you did not mention if you should be paid for this overtime. If you should be paid under the Fair Labor Standards Act, this may be another concern you need to raise with the physician, NPs and/or whomever else needs to address this issue. It is a little unclear if the office in which you work is a clinic/free-standing one with only a few employees or an office with more than 15 employees, which is part of a hospital. If there are more than 15 employees, the Fair Labor Standards Act would require overtime pay for more than 40 hours of work per week.

Obviously, it is essential that your documentation be complete by the end of the day. If you are not able to complete it by that time, you must take the time for completion. Should the file be needed at any time after a particular day, it must not lack information needed to treat the patient.

Sincerely,
Nancy




Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.