Progressive Discipline in Dentistry, Optometry, and Veterinary
When it comes to the onboarding process for dentists, optometrists, and veterinarians, one of the most common challenges that managers and practice owners face is dealing with team members who are not meeting their expectations. This can put them in a difficult position of deciding whether to terminate the employee or to demote them to a different role with reduced pay.
If no contract in place guarantees the employee a specific position or rate of pay, the employer does have the ability to transfer the employee to a role that better suits their qualifications and adjust their pay accordingly. However, it is important for the employer to comply with any notification requirements related to a decrease in pay.
For instance, in California, there are no specific laws governing when or how an employer can reduce an employee's wages or whether notice must be given before implementing a wage reduction. On the other hand, some states do require at least 24 hours of written notice for any changes in pay or wage benefits. Regardless, any wage reduction can only be applied to hours worked after the change and cannot be retroactively applied to hours already worked.
While employment decisions ultimately rest with the practice owner, it's important to consider that demotions may not always be the best course of action. Hiring and preparing an employee for a management role requires significant resources, and demoting them can lead to feelings of embarrassment or resentment. In cases where additional training or coaching could help the employee improve their performance, making that investment may ultimately benefit the employer in the long run and foster good will among employees.
If a job transfer or demotion is the only viable option in a dental, optometry, or veterinary practice, thorough documentation of the events leading up to and following the transfer is crucial. This should include details of performance issues, skills gaps, knowledge inadequacies, and the steps taken to support the employee's success. By demonstrating a legitimate basis for the employment decision and showing that progressive measures were taken, employers can protect themselves against discrimination or constructive discharge claims.
In today's litigious society, employers must take proactive measures to protect themselves from potential legal issues. One of the most effective ways to do this is through thorough documentation of any events or actions taken in the workplace. When it comes to defending against complaints or lawsuits from disgruntled employees, the power of documenting such events cannot be overstated.
Documenting events provides a clear record of what transpired and can serve as valuable evidence in the event of a dispute. By keeping detailed records of performance issues, skills gaps, knowledge inadequacies, and the steps taken to support the employee's success, employers can demonstrate a legitimate basis for their employment decisions. This documentation showcases the employer's commitment to providing a fair and supportive work environment.
Moreover, documenting events also helps employers avoid potential claims of discrimination or constructive discharge. By maintaining a consistent and comprehensive record of the employee's performance, employers can demonstrate that any decision made was based on objective criteria rather than personal bias or discriminatory practices. This not only helps to protect the employer from legal repercussions but also promotes transparency and fairness within the organization.
How to Fire Someone Without Getting Sued: A webinar with HR for Health
In addition to legal protection, documenting events can also serve as a valuable tool for internal purposes. It allows employers to track the progress and development of employees, identify areas for improvement, and provide constructive feedback. This proactive approach can help foster a culture of continuous learning and growth within the organization.
Overall, the power of documenting events cannot be underestimated in today's professional landscape. It not only safeguards employers from potential legal issues but also promotes fairness, transparency, and accountability. By maintaining detailed records of performance issues, skills gaps, and the steps taken to support employees, employers can effectively defend against complaints or lawsuits and create a positive work environment for all.
About HR for Health
HR for Health is an all-in-one HR software solution designed specifically for the dental, optometry, and veterinary industries. Our platform provides practice owners with the tools they need to efficiently manage payroll, timekeeping, 401(k) plans, and more. With seamless integration and user-friendly features, HR for Health is the ideal choice for small businesses and large group dental practices alike. To learn more, reach out to an HR for Health account representative today.