Performing employee background checks is important for several reasons, including minimizing the potential exposure to lawsuits or other administrative claims initiated by unhappy patients over alleged inappropriate care, treatment, or billing issues. Employee background checks are also important for safeguarding your practice against internal theft. Finally, background checks can assist you in protecting the safety of your patients and staff.
As employers and owners of small businesses, dentists face possible claims for the negligent hiring of both associate dentists and support staff. Consequently, it is important to perform background checks in order to confirm an applicant’s qualifications and professional standing. The extent of the background check will depend on various factors, including the position for which the person is being considered. For example, when the decision is made to hire an associate dentist, it is important to ensure that the prospective associate is appropriately licensed. It is also important to determine whether the licensee is the subject of any present or past licensing action. Confirming your hygienists and/or assistants maintain the appropriate license or certification is equally important.
There are numerous methods of performing background checks, including obtaining credit reports, performing criminal background checks, obtaining education and driving records, checking public records and obtaining information regarding an individual’s past employment experiences. Obtaining proper consent for the performance of many of these checks is recommended and, in many instances, mandatory. Careful consideration must be given before performing background checks to ensure you do not run afoul of the laws that protect the privacy rights of prospective employees and protect individuals from unlawful discrimination.
Of course, a lawful background check cannot guarantee you will not have issues with your staff, but it can certainly help minimize the potential exposure and risk you face as an owner of a dental practice.
Andrew Paluda has specialized in the representation of dentists in malpractice and general business matters for over 20 years. He has a Martindale-Hubbell AV rating in recognition of his preeminent legal ability and high ethical standards. He frequently is called upon to give risk management seminars and was recently named a top lawyer by DBusiness Magazine.
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Editor’s note: This does not constitute legal advice. Please consult professional counsel for your individual situation.