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Four Crucial Documents for Your Newest Dental Practice Hire

Posted by Sasha Wojcik

Paperwork can be a drag, but the right documents can save your dental practice from extensive legal headaches. The process of inducting new employees into your dental practice can mix excitement with a dash of anxiety. Are they a good fit? Will they be diligent, and strive to deliver stellar patient care? But sometimes, things don't work out as expected. To safeguard against legal issues arising from such instances, well-prepared document shields are essential.

While taking on fresh staff for your dental practice stirs eagerness laced with a bit of worry. Concerns over their adaptability, dedication, and capability to offer superior patient care often bubble up. Not all new hires will mesh seamlessly, and when ties are severed, it's expedient to have legal safeguards in place.

The good news? Having the right employment documents can help avoid most legal clashes with a former employee. The first document required when legal action is often pursued is the employee's work history. Insufficient or unclear paperwork can make you a target for legal claims. As experienced by many of our HR for Health clients, thorough, up-to-date employment records can often lead to claims dismissal.

dental new hire checklist hr for health

Let's review the four vital documents that act as your "safety nets" against possible legal issues arising from new dental hires:

1. The Importance of Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification)

This may seem exceedingly basic, but it's against the law to employ individuals unauthorized to work in the United States. The U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services requires that Form I-9 should be completed within 72 hours of the new employee’s official hiring date. As their employer, you are obligated to authenticate the integrity of documents that substantiate identity and/or employment eligibility. Examples of such documents are:

  • Unexpired passport

  • Green Card

  • Native American tribal document

  • Voter’s registration card

  • Driver’s license

In the healthcare industry, ensuring continuous work eligibility throughout employment by keeping copies of these essential documents is important. For example, you might need to keep these copies for a minimum of three years after an employee leaves. Eligibility verification can also be confirmed using the Federal Government's E-Verify website.

federal government e verify website

E-Verify is a free service you can use to confirm the work eligibility of new hires. It’s also an effective way to confirm that existing employees are eligible to work in the United States. The website allows employers to enter basic employee information and compare it against data from U.S. government records—including Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security records.

2. Providing New Hires with the Employee Handbook

The employee handbook might not be a legally required document, but it does set clear expectations for all employees. It also covers crucial policies including:

  • Sexual harassment policies

  • Leave policies

  • Break and meal times

  • Employee review policies

Are there any other policies you want your employees to know about? The handbook should also include a section on company policies for accepting new hires. This can cover things like background check procedures and drug testing requirements.

This handbook is crucial as it outlines employee rights and would be the first place an employee or their legal counsel will check in case of legal recourse.

free download for employee handbookGet your very own, tailored, and compliant employee handbook for your dental practice

3. Why a Notice to Employee is Necessary for New Hires

Some states necessitate the provision of a "Notice to Employee" document to every new hire. Apart from the employment offer letter, this document clarifies details about employees' salaries, shift details, sick leave eligibility, and other relevant information such as the employer's name, the employee's start date, etc.

notice to employees new hire

The notice is also important because it helps employers avoid future legal issues with employees. For example, if an employer fails to provide a notice to their new hires and they subsequently terminate their employment after one week of service, they may face legal repercussions.

4. The Role of an Arbitration Agreement

While not mandatory, an arbitration agreement can save you from court proceedings. With such an agreement, defense costs can be reduced and potential exposure to plaintiff's attorney’s fees limited.

For example, if your company has a pre-employment arbitration agreement in place and an employee brings you to court for wrongful termination, you can hear the case by an arbitrator instead of a judge. This is advantageous because they usually charge less than lawyers and are not as time-consuming or expensive.

arbitration agreement hr for health

The Significance of Completing All New Hire Documents for Dental Staff

The dental profession, with its specialized skills and focus on patient health, adds an extra layer of emphasis on accurately completing new hire paperwork. It's not just about crossing your t's and dotting your i's—it's about safeguarding your dental practice's success and maintaining a high level of patient care.

Here are some reasons why ensuring the completion of all necessary documents for your new dental staff is of utmost importance:

1. Compliance with Legal Requirements

Various state and federal laws regulate the hiring process in the dental field. These regulations intend to ensure dental practices maintain high professional standards and uphold ethical employment practices. Proper documentation is essential to prove your practice's compliance and to avoid fines, penalties, or other legal consequences.

2. Employee Accountability and Understanding

Having all new hire documents completed and acknowledged sets a solid foundation for employee understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Explicitly defined policies, guidelines, and expectations also help reduce confusion and miscommunication among staff members, fostering a more harmonious and productive work environment.

3. Higher Quality of Patient Care

When your dental practice follows proper documentation and hiring procedures, it demonstrates your commitment to maintaining high standards and delivering exceptional patient care. A well-structured onboarding process promotes employee engagement, loyalty, and a heightened sense of responsibility.

4. Protection against Disputes and Litigation

Well-maintained records and appropriately documented policies work in favor of both employee and employer when disputes arise. A thorough recordkeeping process can deter legal issues related to wrongful termination, harassment, workplace discrimination, and other HR concerns. Being proactive in this aspect can save your dental practice both time and financial resources in the long run.

5. Streamline Employee Onboarding

A systematic and comprehensive approach to completing all new hire documents ensures a smoother onboarding process for the dental staff and minimizes future issues related to compliance and employee misunderstandings. This allows everyone to do their job effectively, focus on the needs of the patients, and create a more pleasant and efficient work atmosphere.

In conclusion, completing all new hire documents for your dental employees is not a mere formality but a crucial step towards a successful, well-operated dental practice. It helps maintain compliance with legal requirements, facilitates employees' understanding of their responsibilities, and ultimately enhances the quality of patient care.

dentist onboarding hr for health

Start Your New Hire Today with HR for Health

Our mission at HR for Health is to ensure your practice adheres to all applicable federal and state laws. We facilitate your compliance, whether it's keeping Form I-9 updated or drafting your employee handbook according to your state and industry. We provide an HR software solution that supports your processes, making a remarkable difference in safeguarding against potential legal issues.

Think of our preventative documentation process as a robust defense infrastructure ready to deter legal complexities. Contact us at HR for Health for a consultation and learn how we can bolster your team of medical, optometry, dental, or veterinary professionals in your field.

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