How to Avoid HR Problems (Dental Law Radio, Episode 6)
From an HR perspective, Covid-19 has changed everything for a dental practice; the issues, regulations, and consequences of non-compliance are more complicated than ever. Host Stuart Oberman reviews the “must have” processes needed to avoid HR problems. Dental Law Radio is underwritten and presented by Oberman Law Firm and produced by the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX®.
Intro: [00:00:02] 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: [00:00:25] Hello everyone and welcome to Dental Law Radio. Oh, our topic today, H.R., H.R., H.R. So, near and dear to our hearts. So, through this whole process, COVID-19, I think it taught us a lot. It let us take a look at what our doctors were and were not doing. And it really exposed a lot of problems. So, you know, what happened in the last year? What happened in the last five years?
Stuart Oberman: [00:00:59] So, anyone who owns a dental practice, works in a dental practice, knows for a fact that H.R. is changing every single day. There are more rules and regulations for employees than we ever had before. There’s more regulatory matters. There’s more problem employees. Employees are harder to deal with. Our doctors are fed up, discouraged with H.R. They can’t find employees. Employees are quitting. Employees are complaining. Tight economic conditions.
Stuart Oberman: [00:01:30] So, you know, where are we at? So, we have to look back at what happened this past year. It really brought a lot of things to the forefront. So, I would tell you, 2020, COVID-19 changed everything in H.R. Pre-COVID-19, what was ignored is now absolutely mandatory. We have states that are getting involved in H.R. like we never seen before. Federal Law is changing daily, it seems like, National Labor Relations Board, EEOC, Federal guidance, IRS, tax changes. You know, it’s a wonder that a lot of our doctors who’ve been practicing for some time, we’ll get these calls and they’ll say, “I’m done. I don’t want to put up with OSHA. I don’t want to put up with HIPAA. I can’t handle the H.R. I’m out of compliance. I need to go.”
Stuart Oberman: [00:02:27] So, what happens is, is that they’re frustrated, and we get it. So, I want to offer a couple of things. We put out a mandatory checklist for our clients. And I would encourage you to send us an email and we’ll send that mandatory checklist for you to you if you email us and request it. So, that’s mandatory checklists review, what you need on a daily basis to review.
Stuart Oberman: [00:03:04] So, another thing that we looked at is the hiring process, H.R. This exposed a lot of things. We had some practices that had a 70 to 80 percent turnover rate. If you don’t have an H.R. process and onboarding process in place, and you’ve got turnover at 70, 80 percent, for whatever reason, you are in a world of hurt, as we say. You’ve got to have an onboarding process. So, what we’ve developed is a new employee checklist. Again, at the end of today’s podcast, I’ll give information out on how to reach out to us and get that from us requested. If you need it, it’s there for you. If you need a mandatory checklist, it’s there for you.
Stuart Oberman: [00:03:51] So, the H.R. process we talked about, you know, in prior podcasts is a simple, simple process. I don’t want our guys to – I say our guys – I want our dentists to really go out on a deep end because it’s simple things, small things. You eat an elephant one bite at a time. You can’t overhaul a massive system. You’ve got to have a guideline on how to do this.
Stuart Oberman: [00:04:19] So, one of the things we stressed before, employee manual, got to have it. There’s no question you’ve got to have it. We mentioned before, social media, cell phone, internet policy, nondisclosure agreements, non- solicitation agreements. If you think your employees, if you think your associates, if you think your hygienist won’t steal your information from you when you leave or when they leave the practice, you are sadly mistaken. Because I will assure you, those are the first things that go. So, all those have got to be buttoned up and they got to be tight.
Stuart Oberman: [00:04:53] Employee files – I can’t stress this enough – you got to keep track of your employee files, reviews, negative, positive, review process. Do you even have a process in place for reviewing employees? And I know I said this before and I’ll say it many times through this podcast series, employees should never ever, in a million years, have control of their personnel files. Because I will guarantee you, you get an employee fired, that file goes with them. You’ll never see that file again. You need to have a limited access on your personnel files.
Stuart Oberman: [00:05:32] And I say that because our doctors call us all the time, you know, “John left. Mary left. They were fired,” or “we terminated them.” Great. So, where’s their file? Let’s see it. “Well, we can’t find it. We don’t know where they all went to.” That’s a huge problem. You’ve lost a battle. Period.
Stuart Oberman: [00:05:54] So, what are your practice policies? Internal operations? What are your processes? Success? You have people, processes, and systems. What’s the process? Again, do you have a recruiting or hiring process? What does that look like? Do you have an on boarding process? How are you recruiting? How are you handling complaints? Do you have a reporting process? Do you have a mechanism for them to file complaints against you internally before it goes to a third party?
Stuart Oberman: [00:06:38] Classifications, we talked about this earlier, previous podcast. Are you an employee? Are you an independent contractor? You’ve got to know these classifications because they’re detrimental to your practice if you don’t. What are the benefits? How are they being distributed? Are they equal? What is your OSHA and HIPAA policy? Are your manuals out of date? All these are compliance issues. All those things that you absolutely need to know.
Stuart Oberman: [00:07:09] So, on our are mandatory checklists that we have for review – I’ll be glad to send them out. Just let us know if you want one – that’s a pretty detailed process for what you need to review internally and a new employee checklist. So, I want to touch on new employees real quick. So, we all hear about the dental practices that recycle employees. If you go to some websites and you type in a name today that you saw, you’re going to see that same name in a year, six months. There is a whole mechanism for employees that are really bad, but they’re being recycled. The problem with that is, you could see who’s hiring them is not doing their due diligence. They’re not doing the background checks.
Stuart Oberman: [00:07:59] We had a particular employee – I’m sorry – employer that we discovered they hired employee without coming in with a full background check. We said, “We came in too late. You need to do a background check and have a process in place.” So, they did a letter of offer. They went ahead and offered the person the position. Come to find out, three days later a report comes back, they got a bankruptcy, they got a couple of felonies, assaulting an officer, drugs. Now, what do you do? Do you tell the employee who just told their employer that I’m no longer offered a job. What do you do?
Stuart Oberman: [00:08:51] So, those are things you’ve got to control. You’ve got to have an on boarding process. You know, why have an employee that has embezzled four other practices and you’re hiring them for accounting? Check the resumes, check the resources, do the background checks. For $100 dollars, you can make your life very, very easy. And our doctors don’t do that. And they hire because they need a body and that’s a disaster waiting to happen. That’s an H.R. nightmare.
Stuart Oberman: [00:09:25] So, you know, I want to go off topic a little bit. But if you got a disgruntled employee that’s leaving, put that employee under wraps, if you will. That employee needs to be given a severance, especially if they got dirt on the practice. You need to get them to sign a release. So, once they are paid X, Y, Z, dollars, whatever it is, as a severance. “Well, they’re not due a severance.” I get that. But what are you going to do if they got dirt on the practice and all of a sudden they start making inklings that they’re going to go to OSHA, HIPAA, Department of Labor, because you’re not paying them for overtime, they’re misclassified, they’re not exempt, they’re exempt.
Stuart Oberman: [00:10:10] So then, what do you do? You need to shut down that employee. You need to go ahead and get them under release. So, once they have been compensated, they sign a release, they can’t go forward with any other claims. And if they have a claim that has been withdrawn, they can’t go on social media, provided that you even have a social media policy. If you don’t, then the release will cover that. These are things you’ve got to do. In today’s world, these are the check downs that you have to have. And if you don’t, then, all of a sudden, we get these calls, and the cycle starts. And then, it’s damage control. Then, we’ve got things going on the internet, which we’re going to talk about in subsequent podcasts. And it becomes a snowball effect.
Stuart Oberman: [00:10:58] So, these are the basic things. Again, before COVID-19, you know, our doctors weren’t necessarily exposed unless something happened. But COVID-19 hits, now, we’ve got all these regulatory issues. We’ve got all these problem employees. We’ve got employees refusing to come to work. Employees that quit. We’ve got turnover. We’ve got H.R. problems. And, now, it’s exposed. The curtains down. So, you’ve got to make sure that you’ve got all the stuff done, checked down, in compliance. Because we’re in a different world, we’re in different time, and it’s not going to get any better. It’s not going to get any better. And you have to have a system in place as we go forward. People, processes, and systems, got to have it to avoid trouble in today’s world. It’s getting tough. It’s getting tougher every day.
Stuart Oberman: [00:11:43] So, again, as I say, 10,000 foot view. You know, this is a whole topic for an hour discussion, but we’re going to break it down to some things we think that are really needed in today’s market. So, anyway, if you have any questions, please call us, 770-554-1400. Visit us online, obermanlaw.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, S-T-U-A-R-T@obermanlaw.com. And reach out to us, ask for the checklist, we’ll be glad to send it out, get you on a mailing list, keep you up to date. So, I’d like to wish everyone a fantastic day. And we look forward to having you join us on subsequent podcasts. Thanks a lot. Bye.
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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