It’s never fun, but sometimes a team member needs to be given a “job opportunity elsewhere.” Maybe they are chronically late for work, or have a horrible attitude that brings the whole team down, and after being given several opportunities to improve, they have continued the destructive behavior.
Recently, Dr. James Knight of Iowa fired dental assistant Melissa Nelson. The reason? She was “irresistible.” And even though they did not have an intimate relationship, it seems the doctor feared that working with her on a daily basis was a threat to his marriage.
To the amazement of many, the Supreme Court of Iowa ruled that this was not gender discrimination! We’re wondering if the practice manual forbid any team members from being overly attractive!!
Even though this is an extreme and crazy case, it once again reinforces the need for every single practice to have an excellent and up-to-date practice manual. And that crappy generic one youdownloaded five years ago just will not do the trick.
Every doctor and team member absolutely needs to know essential things like sick and vacation policies, administrative protocols, and how to handle situations where things like discrimination,harassment and other office evils are suspected.
Don’t think that being haunted by not having a proper manual can happen to you? Think again! We’ve seen numerous fantastic practices be devastated financially and emotionally by things that could have been easily prevented.
So what should you do?
1. Contact a human resources expert that knows dentistry to review your manual and / or help you craft an updated one that will fully protect the doctor and team. We highly recommend Pam Mazza of Mid-Atlantic HR. She works with practices all across the country. Click the link or give her a call at 410-683-4600. She did our manual and we are extremely pleased. She may even be able to come out to your office and give a half-day course like she did for us!!
2. Ask your insurance agent if you are properly covered for any kind of claim, charge, accusation or lawsuit made by a team member or patient. Think it can’t happen to you? Better to be safe than sorry.
3. To be super safe, see if there is any way to protect your assets from any of the things mentioned above and more. The best dental asset protection specialist we know is Doug Lodmell of Lodmell and Lodmell. Click the link or give them a call at 1-800-231-7112.
Hopefully you won’t be firing anyone this week for being overly attractive. But having the proper HR strategies in place will save you tons of headaches AND money in the future.