One in Four Dentists Suffers from Ex-Employee Headaches

Post your comments about wrongful discharge to our blog.

Wrongful Discharge: Dental Survey Results

In this survey, we asked dentists if they have had "wrongful discharge" headaches from past employees. The majority (72%) have not had such trouble. However, 9% of dentists report being sued for wrongful discharge, and another 19% say they've been accused of it or threatened with legal action.

Read the dentists’ comments for more insight into their thoughts.

General dentists versus specialists

Specialists seem to have even more trouble with past employees than general dentists. Though the two groups faced lawsuits at an identical rate
(9%), specialists were significantly more likely to report having been threatened or accused of wrongful discharge. 

Dental Retirement Survey legend

Male versus Female Dental Practitioners

Gender seemed to play a minor role in a dentist's experience with wrongful discharge. Results indicate male dentists are somewhat more likely to be sued, while female dentists are more likely to face threats or accusations that never materialize into lawsuits. 

Dental Retirement Survey legend

Urban, suburban and rural dentists

Geographically speaking, dentists face the same number of threats and accusations. However, suburban dentists are by far the most likely to be
sued (13%). In this survey, only 6% of urban dentists and zero percent of rural dentists reported wrongful discharge lawsuits.

Dental Retirement Survey legend

For more insight into what our respondents are thinking, check out their comments! We asked, quot;Have you had negative experience with letting employees go?"

Isn't letting an employee go always a negative experience?

  • “It is always difficult to dismiss an employee, awkward and uncomfortable for both employer and employee."
  • “They are all negative.” (New York dentist)
  • “It's always negative, but no real problems.” (Oregon periodontist)
  • “I've always been happy they were gone.” (New York dentist)

It's no fun when the dental board gets involved

  • “Employee retaliated with false accusations to the dental board – a real nightmare.” (Maine dentist)
  • “I had a disgruntled ex-employee of ten years of employment bring action against me by the state dental board.” (Maine dentist)

Don't get me started on unemployment…

  • “I have had to continue to pay unemployment to two former employees who hop from job to job.” (California periodontist)
  • “I had one employee who quit on their own discord then tried to file discrimination charges against me because she could not collect unemployment benefits.” (New York orthodontist)
  • “Yes, I had an employee claim they were on a leave of absence and I had to deal with the state employee department. I also had a former employee work for me while receiving unemployment benefits. It was a bunch of paperwork, headaches, and tension I didn't need!” (Oregon

What about stealing patients?

  • Recruitment of current patients into the practice they moved over to. We had to have our attorney send them and the new doctor they worked for a letter.” (Washington dentist)
  • “One time I let a hygienist go and she took a large number of patients to another dentist's office and started working a few hours a week and collected all the unemployment she could.” (Michigan dentist)

It's nice to avoid legal action

  • “My God, who hasn't had problems with former employees??!! Never sued, but a heck of a lot of drama.” (Illinois dentist)
  • "Not sued, but a complaint was filed that I fired her because she was pregnant." (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • Bad feelings, but no legal ramifications.” (General dentist)

Things to watch out for…

  • “Yes, we have an employee who successfully sued a former employer, and she is always alluding to that fact." (Pediatric dentist)
  • “Yes. It has cost us a lot of money!” (New York dentist)
  • “Yes, for blackmailing and lost 1/2 my practice w/slander; got a good attorney?” (New Hampshire dentist)

Protecting yourself and your practice

  • “I had a feeling it would occur with some particular employees. So I went through the employee standards protocol for what is required and covered myself. It is a bit of work but much easier and less costly than going through the courts.” (Canada dentist)

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