Reduce Labour Costs. Minimize Liability. Maximize Your Rights As An Employer.
You are running a dental practice. Maybe you have two dentists, and maybe you have 10 offices.
Either way, you have employees: hygienists, administrative staff, other dentists, and perhaps an office manager or administrator.
And as soon as you have employees, you need to make sure you are protecting yourself.
- Are growing and need to hire more employees,
- Just bought a practice,
- Need to put proper contracts and policies in place,
- Are paying hygienists or staff as “contractors” without recognizing the risks this exposes you to,
- Need to downsize or otherwise reduce your labour costs,
- Are faced with a wrongful dismissal or human rights claim,
- Have a bad employee you need to get rid of (perhaps inherited when you bought the practice),
- Have received a complaint of bullying or harassment,
- Were visited by a Ministry of Labour Inspector,
- Have an employee off on medical / disability leave and need to understand your rights and obligations,
- Just lost an associate or hygienist and find yourself losing patients, or
- Have an employee that’s been on medical leave for years.
Free HR Checkup Document
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The HR Checkup For The Dental Industry
Dentists usually preach good oral hygiene to prevent gingivitis and tooth decay, but preventative maintenance applies equally to employment law and, in particular, buying or selling a practice.
Strategic planning, enforceable contracts, effective workplace policies, and properly-implemented procedures are the employment law equivalent of brushing and flossing, and can be tremendously beneficial in helping you to
- Reduce labour costs,
- Minimize liability, and
- Maximize your rights.
This is true of both day-to-day practice operations and practices in transition. We have worked with many dental offices, and have advised several dentists that have bought or sold practices. We have seen the common mistakes, and can help you avoid them.
In many cases, we have new clients come to us because they have never taken the time to develop an HR strategy, which is something we love to do.
We begin by getting to know you, your practice, your goals and your concerns. When possible, we like to come to you and get a feel for your work environment.
Then we conduct an HR Checkup, reviewing the core legal documents such as contracts and policies and ensuring that they are legally effective and strategic. Once that is done, we are ready and able to help with any issue that arises. You won’t have to waste time explaining who you are; we already know. And we can help you make strategic decisions designed to meet your goals amd avoid unexpected issues.
Day to Day Issues
We are your business partner and your resource for issues that arise at all stages of the employment relationship. We can be your sounding-board before decisions are made, and we can help you respond to issues when they arise. Among other things, we will guide you on matters such as:
- Associate, Employment and Contractor Agreements,
- Performance Management,
- Harassment and Bullying,
- Requests for Accommodation,
- Return to Work Plans,
- Investigations Discipline,
- Dismissal, and
We will work with you to ensure that you understand the legal implications of any issue, as well as your rights and obligations, to minimize the risk of a claim. If, however, your practice is faced with a lawsuit, human rights complaint, or health and safety claim, Rudner Law will take the lead in preparing a strategy to respond. We will provide zealous representation before courts, tribunals, and mediators.
At every stage, we provide cost-effective, strategic guidance and representation.
Buying or Selling a Dental Practice?
The sad reality is that in many, if not most cases, dentists buying or selling a practice don’t turn their minds to employment issues until it is too late. We have seen people buy a practice and find themselves stuck with terrible staff, only to realize that their choices are to continue to employ them or pay out substantial severance packages.
We have also seen situations where a professional selling a practice did not negotiate terms regarding severance obligations to current employees. When the purchaser chose not to keep the staff, the vendor paid out a hefty portion of the purchase price in severance.
One thing is consistent in all of these scenarios: during the negotiations, parties discuss issues such as the purchase price, transition, and restrictions on competition, but no one turns their mind to what will happen to the existing staff and who will be responsible for any severance payments.
While not always top of mind, the employment issues that come with buying or selling a practice can take a bite out of your bottom line, and a little bit of preventative maintenance can ward off significant problems in the long run – just like brushing and flossing.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Do the current employees have enforceable employment agreements that limit severance obligations?
- Will the purchaser have the opportunity to assess which staff they intend to keep, before and/or after closing? If so, how long with they have?
- Who will be responsible for severance obligations to those that are not kept on?
- When will the new employment agreements be introduced?
- What if the employees choose not to go with the purchaser? Who will be responsible for the resulting costs?
Although a corporate lawyer or consultant will be the primary deal broker in the sale of a practice, having an employment lawyer on your team is critical. We will review the existing employment relationships and assess potential liabilities. We can then ensure that those responsibilities are properly addressed so that there are no surprises. That will protect you, whether you are the buyer or seller.