We continue to receive questions and concerns from our clients, including doctors and dentists, regarding their employees’ refusal to come back to work. In some limited instances, the employee’s refusal is legitimate and absolutely should be supported by the employer. However, in other instances, the employee is simply refusing to come to work, without any justification, or because they are making more money through unemployment compensation.
Our doctor and dental clients share the same concerns about the health and safety of their employees and patients, as many of us do. They are taking measures to ensure that the various doctor and dental offices are safe environments for all involved. We cannot, however, allow employees to take advantage of an already difficult situation and refuse to come back to work when a particular doctor’s office or dental practice begins operations. Everyone needs to do their part.
Recently, ODJFS created a portal for employers to report employees who quit or refuse to work when work is available. According to the page “Report Fraud in Ohio” on the ODJFS website, employers can use the form to “report employees who quit or refuse work when it is available due to COVID-19.” The form, “COVID-19 Work Refusals,” can be found on the “Report Fraud in Ohio” page or at this link.
The COVID-19 Work Refusal form asks for information such as the employee’s name and the last four digits of their Social Security Number or Claimant ID number. The form also asks if the employer’s business was deemed essential during the pandemic and if they maintained safety standards required by the state. According to several news outlets, ODJFS advised, “We will review the necessary files and records in light of the information you have provided to determine the most appropriate action.”
We recommend that our doctor and dental practices communicate a consistent message to their employees, and be available to address any questions or concerns that may arise. We want to ensure that employees and patients are comfortable returning to the office. With that said, if others are disrupting the return to work procedures that are being put in place, we need to take swift and immediate action to ensure we minimize that disruption. Therefore, if you have questions related to business disruption because of unemployment compensation and refusal to work, please contact Vince Nardone at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to address your concerns, plan, and outline your options with you.