From wage and hour laws to anti-discrimination, workplace safety and more, having an understanding of employment laws can help protect both you and your employees. Employment laws are designed to offer protections for both employees and employers.
When it comes to hiring employees for your dental practice, there are a few things to keep in mind, such as anti-discrimination laws.
Discrimination can take shape in a number of forms, including:
- Parental status (i.e. pregnant)
In addition to offering employees the protection of law regarding certain matters, the laws are also intended to benefit employers as well. Employment laws can help reduce operational ambiguities by establishing clear cut legal expectations. Further, most states offer employers the protections of being able to hire and fire at-will.
Now, let’s talk about how you can legally hire staff for your dental practice.
When determining the need for staff members for your practice, you’ll want to define the parameters for an ideal candidate including their qualifications, characteristics, etc. When defining these parameters, you’ll need to be extra cautious in the definition to avoid any discriminatory wording.
What is the scope of work? What role do you need the potential staff member to fill? The job posting should accurately represent the job duties of the position, what the physical and environmental requirements are, the expected schedule of the position, as well as any additional requirements that you have for the role such as education, years of experience, certifications, and so on.
When it comes to advertising for your open position, there are some special considerations you’ll want to keep in mind. For instance, if you’re planning to advertise on Facebook (or social media), you should know that Facebook employs measures in which employers must identify the ad as employment related which restricts the audience so that they can’t intentionally or unintentionally discriminate.
It’s important to use objective standards to decide who you move on to the next step of the interview process with. We generally recommend completing a phone interview first because it’s an easy, less time-consuming way to weed out any candidates that are not a good fit for the practice.
During the interview process, it is important not to ask questions that could be seen as discriminatory and only ask questions that are specifically related to the job and its daily functions. Examples of questions that could be seen as discriminatory are “Do you have children?”, “How old are you?”, and “Are you religious?”
In order to be compliant you’d need to change these questions to “Are you able to meet the attendance requirements of this position?”, “Are you over the age of 18?” or “Are you available on weekends?”
Some states have established that employers may not ask job applicants about their previous salary history, including compensation and benefits provided. This means that the typical question that you’d find on a standard employment application “What is your current salary?” may no longer be legal. Be sure that if you are in a state that prohibits this that you are only obtaining this information because the employee is voluntarily providing it.
It’s important to keep in mind that an offer letter is not a contract of employment and it should clearly state that employment with your practice is at-will, as well as the details of their employment such as their schedule, who they report to, what their wages will be, their employment classification, as well as any benefits that they may be eligible for as an employee. If they are an employee that will be earning wages based on a commission, then a commission agreement should be in place which is a legal document that needs to be drafted by legal counsel. All of these details should also be documented in your
Human resources and employment laws can be frustrating to grasp - especially when you’re just starting your own practice. Which is why Dental B-School is here to support you. We offer courses on the legal, HR and insurance side of owning your practice, in addition to offering some free resources. To learn more about Dental B-School and how we can help you grow your practice, get in touch today by sending us a secure message via our website. After all, “Starting a practice can be scary. We’ve got the tools you need to make it happen.”