Dentaltown June 2019 - 93

Employee maternity leave is one of the most rigorous tests of
the policies in your employee handbook. It's important, therefore,
to have consistent, legally compliant policies in place before an
employee starts making accommodation or leave requests as a
result of a pregnancy.
the time to start writing the employee up for infractions. Your only legal protection here
is going to be your history of documentation and your continued and consistent attempts
to correct any policy violations or other issues prior to and during the pregnancy.
That said, you still have the right to let an expectant employee go for reasons unrelated
to pregnancy if she caused a major HIPAA breach, made a serious mistake in patient care or
otherwise committed an offense that would generally result in an immediate termination
at your practice. Further, if you've already had significant performance issues the employee
was fully aware of and things get worse or don't change, termination is OK. You just have to
consider the risk that she'll try to go after you for discrimination. If you want to fire based
on something new (or something that wasn't previously brought up with the employee),
unless it's really significant, it's going to be a high-risk termination as well as a PR risk to
let her go-you don't want everyone in town thinking or saying you fired the employee
because she was pregnant.

Returning to work
It should be clear to your employee how long of a leave of
absence she can request, the dates that have been approved and
how to request an extension if it's medically necessary. You can
and should send a letter to remind your employee when her leave is
coming to an end and request that she gets back to you with updates
as to her readiness to return, but you cannot require her to do so.
But what if the employee's temporary replacement proves to be
a better fit for your practice? Can you keep the temp and terminate
the employee who is on leave? Again, the answer here is "No." You
are legally required to return an employee who has been on an
approved leave to the same position (or a position that is similar/
equivalent/comparable in status) and pay she had before taking
leave. But, having found someone who is a better fit for your office,
you can take the lessons learned about the type of employee you
are looking for to assist with future hiring decisions.

Bringing it all together
There is a lot to consider when drafting policies for your
practice, including what is required of you by federal, state and
local laws. You have to be intelligent to practice dentistry. Unless
you also have extensive experience in HR and/or a law degree, you
are going to want professional help drafting and implementing a
maternity policy for your practice. By making expectations and
processes clear upfront, you'll find that having well-written policies
in place can simplify even the most complicated situations. ■
FREE FACTS, circle 8 on card

dentaltown.com \\ JUNE 2019

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Dentaltown June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dentaltown June 2019

Dentaltown June 2019 - Intro
Dentaltown June 2019 - Cover1
Dentaltown June 2019 - Cover2
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