employee situation

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    I’m a dermatologist with my own private practice and wonder what to do about a situation between two employees. My male receptionist (25) is flirting with my 34 year old medical assistant. They’ve worked together for about 5 months now and there is an obvious attraction between them. They’re always talking, flirting and smiling. I now feel uncomfortable when I interrupt them. She is also MARRIED with one child, I know that her marriage has been in difficulty for the past 3 or so years. What should I do? I don’t want an affair to occur in the office, I don’t want to have to fire one of them or hire someone new if one leaves. I’m just not sure what to do or say to them, but I feel that it is coming to a head and I need to address it, especially now that their work is suffering from the constant chatter.




    The Physician’s Practice website http://www.physicianspractice.com/
    has an “ask an expert” section. You enter a question and they have a panel of experts that will email you a response. The panel is made up of HR, legal, finance, and practice management people. Not sure if it will help or not, but I guess it is worth a try. The site is sponsored by various hospitals and healthcare systems.


    Now would be a good time to invoke the “No Fraternizing” rule (I think it’s called article 16 in the military). I think that I would sit each one down in my office separately and say something along the lines of “There is something we need to discuss. It has been brought to my attention that you may be romantically involved with another employee here. This is not an acceptable situation in my office. Patient care is the reason you are employed here. I trust that you can assume a strictly professional relationship with each of the other employees, beginning now. You have a thirty days’ probationary period, after which time, should this behavior continue, you will be let go.” I can’t think of any EEOC guidelines this would violate – but perhaps someone can think of a problem with saying this. (I have been accused of being “direct” before!)

    If YOU, the physician, don’t even feel comfortable interupting them, then I can’t imagine that patients aren’t noticing. Either directly or indirectly, patient care is being impacted.

    Good luck. Let us know what you decide to do.


    This post has been edited.


    Boy do I agree with the last comment. Sounds like the perfect time to let the medical student (although from her age it seems that she would know this by now) that there are professional standards. Being a physician doesn’t give you any right to behae as they do in soap operas.

    It’s your practice, you need to demand the professional atmosphere that patients expect while maintaining a friendly atmosphere.

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