Skip to comments.Automotive supplier cracks down on absenteeism (Delphi wants access to medical records)
Posted on 05/11/2005 4:59:40 AM PDT by wmichgrad
TROY, Mich. (AP) Delphi Corp., intent on containing costs in tough times, is cracking down on absenteeism by threatening to withhold pay or vacation days from hourly employees who refuse to sign waivers releasing their medical records.
The Troy-based automotive supplier had had a less formal policy asking workers to sign medical record releases. In April, however, Delphi revised the waiver form to give employees fewer choices over what records are released and by more aggressively investigating absences it considers suspicious.
"If the employee will not sign the `consent to release medical information' form, management will have to make its decision as to the reasonability of the cause for absence with the limited information it has at its disposal," according to a memo outlining the policy provided to The Detroit News.
Signing the waivers is optional for Delphi's 34,000 U.S. employees covered by the policy, and workers can limit the information that is released, company spokeswoman Luce Rubio said. But workers who withhold access to their medical records may face repercussions, she said.
"If Delphi is unable to identify that the absence is medically necessary, it may be treated as unexcused and they may be charged with vacation time," Rubio said.
The company negotiated the waiver policy with the United Auto Workers union, Rubio said. But Gregg Shotwell, a member of UAW Local 2151 which represents workers at a Delphi plant in Coopersville near Grand Rapids, said he was concerned that the policy could encourage Delphi to "push it as far as they can" and take even more invasive measures.
Delphi is about $4 billion in debt and is likely to report large losses in 2005, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said last month in lowering the company's credit rating further into "junk" status. Delphi has struggled because of high steel prices and production cuts at General Motors Corp., from which it was spun off in 1999.
On the Net:
Delphi Corp., http://www.delphi.com
Information from: The Detroit News, http://www.detnews.com
Why not just ask Mommy to write a note . . .?
Looks like it's directed at absentees.
No wonder the Union ended up on the company's side in the issue ~ folks who don't go to work end up not paying union dues.
Doesn't matter. Besides, you know what's going on here.
This policy does so discourage. It is irresponsible for an employer to act like a parent. It turns employees into children. Good business is adult to adult.
By the end of February, all have used their vacation allotment for the YEAR. (This is a minumum of 3 weeks including personal days and often 4-5 weeks) They then start taking sick days, and signing up for FMLA for some made-up condition.
How do you run a busness like that? They can't fire these people unless they can prove fraud. How do you get that type of information? You hire investigators and dig into their 'private' lives. What else do you expect a company to do? What would you do if it were YOUR company?
What do you suggest the company do?
Well, the UAW really dropped the ball on this one.
How does a company deal with workers who belong to a union? That depends on so many things -- the history, the locality, the business, the workers and managment themselves. There can be a lot of reactionary dynamics from nearby unions and culture not directly in the employer and worker's union.
I can give no specific suggestion to the company -- short of a general suggestion to get smarter -- this nanny-policy is dumb and counter-productive for reason mentioned.
"Well, the UAW really dropped the ball on this one."
I have to agree with you. I work in health care and have expert experience with patient confidentiality, HIPAA, union negotiations, medical claims and employee benefits. Employers have NO right to access employee (and their family member) medical records. They should enforce their existing policies for approved absences. There is no need to request medical records which are filled with personal details that are not relevant to what is an excused medical absence. The union really screwed this up. If I had chronic jock itch, as well as some other medical condition, would I want my benefit clerk at work to know about it?,
I think this article does not go far enough to explain what other measures the company has tried in order to get people to SHOW UP AT THEIR JOBS. If I was the business owner, I'd fire them for being in violation of company policies and deal with the union later. Perhaps this has been tried, we don't have enough information. I just know that absenteeism and misuse of FMLA laws is a huge problem for companies. Worker productivity can grind to a halt.
People who do not deal with this problem do not understand how completely frustrating and EXPENSIVE it is to companies, especially when you have unions protecting these deadbeat employees. I would wager other measures short of this have been tried with no success.
I read their absentism rate is over 10%. I can't blame the company for wanting to crack down on them. But is this the correct way?
Incorrect. That's not what they are asking. If you are sick, stay home. Just let's see some proof, is all.
They have people who LIE about relatives dying to get paid funeral days. They get a quack to write an order for FMLA for some a back problem, but then are seen at clubs, dancing and drinking.
It might. Then again, I might go to the doctor to get treated for chronic hemorrhoids or some other embarrasing malady.
Just because the employer is incompetent and cannot motivate its workers is no excuse for it to have access to a person's private medical files. Those files are to be between a person and his/her doctor. Period.
YOU VILL SIGN ZE PAPERS!
I don't know, but it seems to me the must have tried other means to deal with it that didn't work. I don't think this should be dismissed out-of-hand. If you have LEGITIMATE health problems, just a peek at your medical records would substantiate them and you could be removed from further suspicions.
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