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Case Study 7

The setting is a large outreach or independent laboratory that processes a high volume of tests with tight resources and a lot of customer service turnaround time deadlines to meet. Meeting the deadlines is dependent on the specimen processing department completing its work on time. The manager of the specimen processing department receives a memorandum from the compliance officer (CO) that several of his employees have not attended their compliance training sessions.

Since this is the initial training for the laboratory, the CO reminds the manager of the requirement that all employees must attend. The employees listed in the memo are key employees who are top performers in the department. The manager knows that they have been instructed to attend, and that attendance is mandatory, but the manager had left it up to the employees to choose the session they would attend. When questioned about their non-attendance, all of the individuals said they were too busy to attend and it was a matter of going to the classes or getting the work done. What action should the manager take in this situation?

Correct Answer: In consideration of the fact that these are the initial training sessions, sit down with each of the affected employees and very specifically tell them that the classes are mandatory and that they must attend under penalty of disciplinary action.

Discussion: The manager knows that the compliance policy is mandatory attendance for these training sessions and informed these employees of that fact. The manager may take into account the fact that these employees have not received the training and therefore may not understand the implications of not attending, but some appropriate discipline should be taken. The manager should also give some consideration to the mentality that caused these employees to skip the training in the first place even after being instructed to attend. This same reasoning that "the work must get done", is a common cause of compliance problems.