If you are not aware of the ever changing landscape of employment law, you could sustain a substantial financial loss. Personnel issues that arise in a dental practice are a major source of stress for most dentists. Dealing with complex employment matters can be challenging, emotionally draining, as well as costly if mishandled.
If you are not keeping up to date with the current trends and changes in the fast moving area of employment law, the result is potential non-compliance or inadvertently mishandling a personnel matter. Dentists are finding themselves in employment law disputes or worse, being sued by current or former employees. Whether it is for wrongful termination, matters that involve maternity leave, not properly paying for overtime, or sexual harassment, the penalties, fines and/or settlements can be substantial.
Most large dental practices have human resource specialists to ensure employment law compliance, and to avoid costly employee disputes. For most small to mid-size dental practices, it is a different story. First, there is little to no training in the area of employment law. Second, many practices cannot afford a specially trained human resource staff. As such, the task of keeping track of employment law matters usually falls on the shoulders of the practice owner, as well as practice managers.
Below is a list of items that every dental practice should have in place in order to limit the risk of employment law violations.
Every Practice Must Have an Employee Manual
A comprehensive employee manual will help you:
* Help avoid costly lawsuits and the stress of litigation
* Outline compliance with state and federal employment regulations
* Define rights and responsibilities of an employer and employees
For Employee Manuals, a practice owner should have:
- Accurate, written job descriptions that comply with the Americans with Disabilities regulations.
- A pregnant employee policy that includes a Health Hazards During Pregnancy Release Letter.
- An employee manual that clearly defines the rules and the consequences of unsatisfactory work conduct.
- Written procedure steps regarding a system of progressive discipline or an established "probationary period".
- Procedure guidelines terminating an employee in order to prevent lawsuits or claims of discrimination and/or wrongful termination.
By taking a few small steps, a dental practice owner can substantially reduce their risk of liability in the area of employment law.
OBERMAN LAW FIRM
Stuart J. Oberman, Esq handles a wide range of legal issues for the dental profession including cyber security breaches, employment law, practice sales, OSHA, and HIPAA compliance, real estate transactions, lease agreements, noncompete agreements, dental board complaints, and professional corporations.
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