A Checklist for Hiring New Employees (Dental Law Radio, Episode 20)
You’ve hired that new employee. Now what? As host Stuart Oberman discusses, there should be an onboarding process which involves an offer letter, a well-written employee manual (not the 20-page version downloaded from the internet), consent forms, and much more. Missing steps and inadequate documentation here sow the seeds of costly problems later. Dental Law Radio is underwritten and presented by Oberman Law Firm and produced by the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX®.
Intro: [00:00:01] Broadcasting from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, it’s time for Dental Law Radio. Dental Law Radio is brought to you by Oberman Law Firm, a leading dental-centric law firm serving dental clients on a local, regional and national basis. Now, here’s your host, Stuart Oberman.
Stuart Oberman: [00:00:26] Hello, everyone, and welcome to Dental Law Radio. So, this topic, today’s topic, a checklist for hiring new employees. I will tell you, I said this before on previous podcasts, we are very fortunate. As a law firm, we have clients in approximately 30 states all the way from California, Maine to Florida. And we do a substantial amount of HR work. Now, what does that mean, HR, human resources? So, we work with our clients on hiring, firing, internal operations, documents, non-competes, nondisclosures, non-solicitations. And one of the things that we have found out that our doctors do not – do not – onboard properly, they don’t have the processes in place, they don’t understand how to onboard, they don’t have a checklist, and they have absolutely no process in place because, at some point, without a good hiring process, if that employee does not work out your firing process, which we will cover in a subsequent podcast, will be an absolute disaster.
Stuart Oberman: [00:01:45] So, let’s take a look at a couple of things that we’ve run into. First and foremost, before that employee starts, day one, you have to have a series of forms and onboarding documents. What does that look like in your practice? You probably think, “Well, I don’t have an onboarding process.” So, then next step is you better get one because you have to have one. So, I would encourage you – encourage you – to have a new hire checklist. If you don’t have one, I’ll give you information on how to get one at the end of this podcast.
Stuart Oberman: [00:02:25] So, first and foremost, when you interview – and we covered interviewing on our previous podcasts – the proper way to interview. So, let’s assume you hire the employee. Now what? Every position that you hire has to have … or I say has to, should have an offer letter. Now, that doesn’t mean one paragraph, that means a formal offer letter, which should include a couple of things. A job description: What department are they working in? What’s their work schedule? Now, you maybe thinking, “Well, I’m going to give them an employment contract.” No. In many cases, an employment contract will get you in more trouble than not having one. So, it depends on your position within the dental practice or for those that are listening that do not own a dental practice, within your organization.
Stuart Oberman: [00:03:26] So, again, first and foremost, offer letter, job information, title, department, what is the work schedule, how long are they going to be there, what’s the compensation, what’s the benefits, what are the employer responsibilities? So, with a caveat to that, the employee benefits, assuming it’s employer’s responsibilities, should already be outlined in your employee manual.
Stuart Oberman: [00:03:56] So, we see a lot of problems with employee manuals. We have doctors that will come up to us and say, “Hey, you know what? I got an employee manual for my friend, and it’s about 25 pages.” My first thought on that is you probably need to shred it. It’s just going to get you in more trouble than not. And what are the termination conditions? It is easy to get married; it is hard to get divorced.
Stuart Oberman: [00:04:24] So, then is next step is what forms do you need from a governmental standpoint to classify and compensate employees with? And it is amazing to me how many CPAs will ask us for this information, which is, a lot of times, very basic. Again, you should have all this prepared, especially in today’s market where turnover is rampant. Of course, you got to have a W-4; for contractors, W9. It is a key concept to have your workers classified as employees or independent contractors. That’s a whole another discussion on classifications. You’re I9s, your state and federal withholdings. What are you going to do when you have multiple practices that are in multiple states? Each one is different. Do you fall for a foreign entity in that particular state, even though that is not your home base? Your E-system verification. Again, those are your basic forms. You should already have those prepared and ready to roll from day one.
Stuart Oberman: [00:05:40] So, your internal forms are a little bit different and they’re relationship-based. So, these are more what I call your protectionary forms, which every practice – and again, for those that are listening that are not dental-related – every business should have. Now, depending on your position, whether or not that is a key employee position, you will want to have a non-compete. “Well, non-competes are not enforceable.” They are absolutely enforceable. It depends on the extent. As a general rule, depending on your state, it has to be geographically specific, it cannot be overly broad, and you can’t say, “I will not allow this employee to do this anywhere in the country or in the world.” That is a recipe for disaster.
Stuart Oberman: [00:06:33] Non-disclosure forms. Every – every employee should sign a nondisclosure. What happens in your place of business must and should stay in your place of business. “Well, they won’t sign one.” Then, they should not be working in your office. Every employee signs one, including social media, cell phone, and internet policy. And I would encourage you not to get those forms off of the internet. They’re very complex employment law forms.
Stuart Oberman: [00:07:06] So, then, an employee acknowledgement handbook. So, I can’t tell you how many times I say, “What’s your employee manual say?” “Well, you know, we really did give it to him,” or “We gave it to him.” “Great! Where’s the acknowledgement form that they received it?” “Well, I don’t think they ever gave back to us.” So, honestly, unless your employee really signs an acknowledgment form, in all likelihood, you probably should assume that they did not get it.
Stuart Oberman: [00:07:34] Next, drug and alcohol consent forms for testing. Now, what are you going to do if you have a state that has legalized marijuana? That is a whole another topic for another day. That is special considerations.
Stuart Oberman: [00:07:57] Employee equipment list. Lot of our doctors, a lot of our employers will provide laptops, cellphones, equipment. You better log those in because once that employee leaves, good luck getting them back unless you inventory it. Confidentiality agreements, an absolute must. Again, what stays in the practice — what happens in practice stays in the practice.
Stuart Oberman: [00:08:24] So, then, let’s take a look at a couple of other things. These are just basic things that you really should have. So, then, in the offer letter, an employee benefits documents. You need to give the employees documents regarding life and health insurance. You can’t wait 60, 90, six months, a year later to give the employees this particular set of documents.
Stuart Oberman: [00:08:54] Cellphone plan. What is your cellphone plan? It is amazing in today’s world what employees will keep and store on their cellphones. What happens when that employee leaves and all of your data, because they downloaded it at your request, is on their cellphone? Do you have a policy to delete that? Do you have a policy that will certify from your employees when they leave that that will be deleted? Do you have an app on your phone that will essentially self-destruct the employment information that you’ve sent over to your employees? If you look at the text messages and everything else that you sent over to your employees on a daily basis, it will be amazing what data is on there, and it will be also amazing what happens if that phone is hacked, and where the data goes. Then, I would strongly recommend you specify paid vacation, time off, paid holidays, sick leave. Do not assume that your employees will know that. That’s got to be in writing.
Stuart Oberman: [00:10:07] Then, the next final data is emergency information. People move. Numbers change. Do you know how to get in touch with relatives should something happen at your office place? Now, you’ve got to be really careful with this because in some instances you’re talking about the ADA, American Disabilities Act, and EEOC. Have you obtained a brief medical history in an employment application? Again, we got to take a look at EEOC issues, especially in this world of COVID. We have to take a look at GINA Title II as far as DNA information goes. So, there’s all kind of regulatory matters we need to take a look at, whether it’s food allergies. I mean, in today’s world, we don’t know what employee problems are.
Stuart Oberman: [00:11:05] So, this is a very, very, very brief, brief summary as to what you need on a new hire checklist. And I’ll tell you, we discovered this when our doctors go through an insurance or third-party governmental audit, and they want personnel files for the last five or seven years, they want ID information, they want application information, they want checks as to whether or not those employees were checked off as far as whether or not they’re eligible to provide treatment or see patients that are on the governmental payer list, if you will.
Stuart Oberman: [00:11:50] So, those are all the things that we really want to take a look at that are absolutely mandatory because when you get a governmental order from attorney general’s office or the DOJ on a federal level, and all of a sudden, they are asking for a personnel file, you’ve got a problem if all this is not in there. And all you do is have one photograph and a one-page application process, that’s an absolute recipe for disaster on a audit.
Stuart Oberman: [00:12:18] So, hopefully you’ll take away a couple of things. Take a look at your personnel file, which should always be kept separate from all the other records, especially regarding COVID-19 shot information. That should be absolutely separate from all the other personnel files and should be maintained separately. So, in summary make sure your new hire process is in place, it’s implemented because it is so easy to get into a relationship plan-wise; it is absolutely devastating to, at times, get out of these relationships.
Stuart Oberman: [00:12:59] So, thank you for joining us today. Hopefully, you picked up a couple of good ideas. If you would, feel free to reach out to us. My name is Stuart Oberman, email@example.com. 770-886-2400. And please follow us on our podcast. And I always say, if you just pick up one bit of information from each podcast, it is a fantastic day. Thanks for joining us. And we will talk to you soon.
About Dental Law Radio
Hosted by Stuart Oberman, a nationally recognized authority in dental law, Dental Law Radio covers legal, business, and other operating issues and topics of vital concern to dentists and dental practice owners. The show is produced by the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX® and can be found on all the major podcast apps. The complete show archive is here.
Stuart Oberman, Oberman Law Firm
Stuart Oberman is the founder and President of Oberman Law Firm. Mr. Oberman graduated from Urbana University and received his law degree from John Marshall Law School. Mr. Oberman has been practicing law for over 25 years, and before going into private practice, Mr. Oberman was in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 Company. Mr. Oberman is widely regarded as the go-to attorney in the area of Dental Law, which includes DSO formation, corporate business structures, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory compliance, advertising regulations, HIPAA, Compliance, and employment law regulations that affect dental practices.
In addition, Mr. Oberman’s expertise in the health care industry includes advising clients in the complex regulatory landscape as it relates to telehealth and telemedicine, including compliance of corporate structures, third-party reimbursement, contract negotiations, technology, health care fraud and abuse law (Anti-Kickback Statute and the State Law), professional liability risk management, federal and state regulations.
As the long-term care industry evolves, Mr. Oberman has the knowledge and experience to guide clients in the long-term care sector with respect to corporate and regulatory matters, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). In addition, Mr. Oberman’s practice also focuses on health care facility acquisitions and other changes of ownership, as well as related licensure and Medicare/Medicaid certification matters, CCRC registrations, long-term care/skilled nursing facility management, operating agreements, assisted living licensure matters, and health care joint ventures.
In addition to his expertise in the health care industry, Mr. Oberman has a nationwide practice that focuses on all facets of contractual disputes, including corporate governance, fiduciary duty, trade secrets, unfair competition, covenants not to compete, trademark and copyright infringement, fraud, and deceptive trade practices, and other business-related matters. Mr. Oberman also represents clients throughout the United States in a wide range of practice areas, including mergers & acquisitions, partnership agreements, commercial real estate, entity formation, employment law, commercial leasing, intellectual property, and HIPAA/OSHA compliance.
Mr. Oberman is a national lecturer and has published articles in the U.S. and Canada.
Oberman Law Firm
Oberman Law Firm has a long history of civic service, noted national, regional, and local clients, and stands among the Southeast’s eminent and fast-growing full-service law firms. Oberman Law Firm’s areas of practice include Business Planning, Commercial & Technology Transactions, Corporate, Employment & Labor, Estate Planning, Health Care, Intellectual Property, Litigation, Privacy & Data Security, and Real Estate.
By meeting their client’s goals and becoming a trusted partner and advocate for our clients, their attorneys are recognized as legal go-getters who provide value-added service. Their attorneys understand that in a rapidly changing legal market, clients have new expectations, constantly evolving choices, and operate in an environment of heightened reputational and commercial risk.
Oberman Law Firm’s strength is its ability to solve complex legal problems by collaborating across borders and practice areas.
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