Podcast (Dental)

HR Laws Dentists Should be Knowledgeable About

December 9, 2021

Like other industries, dentists also struggle with fundamental human resources issues. Attracting, training and retaining quality employees are some of the key issues that can make or break a business.

In this episode of The Art of Dental Finance and Management podcast, Art meets with labor law attorney Ali Oromchian to discuss how to hire, fire and retain people, as well as new labor laws for 2022 that dentists should know about.

Reach out to Art if you have any questions regarding dental finance and management for your dental practice. More information about the Eide Bailly dental team can be found at www.eidebailly.com/dentist.

Being more strategic in all aspects of your dental practice will lead to increased profitability.

Today's Guest

Ali Oromchian, Esq.
HR for Health


Show Notes and Resources:

The Transcript

Art Wiederman, CPA: Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the Art of Dental Finance and Management with Art Wiederman, CPA. I'm your host Art Wiederman. I'm a dental division director at the CPA firm of Eide Bailly in Tustin, California, which if you don't know where Tustin is, it's about 15 minutes from Disneyland.

And this is actually kind of I just thought about this, this kind of special for me because I started this podcast journey three years ago right now, because we our first podcast, I think, was published on December 3rd of 2018. And we're now going to be publishing this one in the first week of December of 2021. And I couldn't think of anybody better. A special special dear friend of mine, Ali Oromchian, who is the premier dental, labor and contract attorney in the country. He is going to be my guest today and we're going to talk about, oh my gosh, you know, what is it like hiring and firing and employing people during a pandemic?

And Ali is the guy that's done. Oh my God, he's the I thought I did a lot of webinars. He's done all over the country to tens of thousands of dentists. So we're going to talk about how to keep people, how to fire them if we have to. We're going to talk about new things that are coming into the law for 2022 that you have to be aware of. We're going to talk about, you know, record keeping. So all of this will come up in a moment and we'll bring Ali on to the show in a moment.

But first, I want to share some information and give you some updates on some things that are going on. First of all, be sure to check with our wonderful, wonderful partners at Decisions in Dentistry magazine www.DecisionsinDentistry.com. Fantastic clinical content and fantastic. You know who's who of clinical dentistry. Go to their website, make sure you get their magazine. They have 140 continuing education courses that you can subscribe to every single for the year. One very, very reasonable price that's www.DecisionsinDentistry.com.

If you're looking for a dental CPA, we got you covered. Eide Bailly. We work with over a thousand dentists in the western United States. We also have the Academy of Dental CPAs www.ADCPA.org. If you're not working with a dental CPA, you should because I can tell you not only myself, but my partners in crime as dental CPAs bring lots and lots of value to the table.

So let me give you some updates on some things. We're in the tail end. I can't believe we're at the end of twenty twenty one, folks. Twenty twenty two is, you know, around the corner here. So if you have not filed for the employee retention tax credit, if you had a greater than 50 percent reduction in your gross receipts net of patient refunds in probably the second quarter of 2020 when the pandemic hit and everybody was shut down. Even if you have filed for forgiveness, which all of you have now for round one of the PPP, you are still eligible.

We're still doing ERTC refunds for 2020. We've got about a dozen of them going on right now. So if you need that help, let us know. Send me an email at awiedeman@EideBailly.com. That's Eide Bailly. If you had a greater than 20 percent reduction in your gross receipts, either in the fourth quarter of 2020 versus the fourth quarter of 2019 or any of the first three quarters of 2021 versus the first three quarters of twenty nineteen, and we calculate those each separately. The credit is up to $7000 per employee per quarter, as opposed to $5000 for the entire year per employee.

So we are I mean, I just did one for a doctor in Southern California. We got him a $42,000 2020 ERTC, and he was eligible for the first quarter of 2021, and his first quarter of 2021 was thirty seven thousand. So we got this doctor close to $80,000, so they're giving out money, folks. Again, give us a call. My again direct number six five seven two seven nine three two four three.

Also, the HHS Provider Relief Fund. Remember that money that two percent of your gross revenues you got in the second quarter in the third quarter of twenty twenty and then you applied for the phase three and they sent you like 80,000 or 200,000 or 500,000. They gave out a lot of money was one hundred and seventy five billion in the fund. Well, they're finally requiring that you report on that. So we're going to be doing a couple of things. Number one, we have a webinar on January the 21st. I'll tell you about that in a minute. But what you need to do is you need to go ahead and you need to go on to the HHS Provider Relief Fund's website. www.HHS.gov.

And you need to go into their portal. They have a workbook. So if you received more than $10,000 between July one and December 31 of 2020 in this program, you have to report between January one and March 31. If you don't, they will ask you for the money back, so make sure that you look into that. Now. We have a couple of events here at Eide Bailly in the dental webinar world that we want to share with you.

So first of all, on December the 13th, Mel Schwarz and I are doing a webinar on year end tax planning and the new tax laws. Now we are recording this. Ali and I are going to be recording this webinar, this podcast today. We're recording this in right before Thanksgiving. So here in the middle of November, the House of Representatives had just passed the build back better bill, and it is now going to the Senate. Do we know when this is going to pass? No, nobody knows when this is going to pass. Congress has done this to me and to the CPAs of the world for years and years. They'll pass tax legislation on the 29th of December. OK, let's do some tax planning between the 29th and the 31st of December. Good luck with that. So watch your news, watch your newspapers. But Mel and I are going to tell you what's going on December 13th. If there's a new law will tell you about it. If there's not a new law, we'll tell you about it, but we'll talk about year-end tax planning.

And also, we are doing a webinar on the HHS Provider Relief Fund. Ashley Brandt-Duda and Tyler Bernier are two Eide Bailly partners who have lived and breathed this HHS nightmare from the beginning almost 20 months ago. And I are going to put this webinar on and we're going to walk you through this HHS portal frame by frame, and we're going to show you exactly how to do it. If you want to sign up for the December 13th webinar, and by the way, that one for HHS is January 21st, we'll have the landing page out shortly. If you're interested in participating in that, there will be a small charge for that. Cause it is a lot of work to put this into action here.

But on the December 13th, once go to www.eidebailly.com/events. So those are my announcements and folks coming to the end of the year, make sure you sit down with your CPAs if you need some help with your tax planning and you're not getting it. We're here. That's all we're doing is year-end tax planning meetings.

All right. Let's get to my dear dear friend Ali Oromchian. Ali is the founder, CEO and as my late mother used to say Chief Cook and Bottle Washer for HR for Health. You like that one? HR for Health, which is the premier HR resource company that helps dentists with all of their HR needs. We'll talk a little bit about that as well as he is a dental contract attorney and his firm, his dental and medical council, and they are based out of Northern California. As I've told you before, I've made, you know, in 37 years many, many dear friends and Ali is just at the top of that list. He's my go to guy for HR labor law. My clients getting sued. What do I do? Help help help. Ali, welcome to the Art of Dental Finance and Management.

Ali Oromchian: Thank you Art. It's a pleasure to be back. And you're right, it is a crazy time of the year and it just seems to be getting crazier and crazier. So it's a lot of fun to be able to do this with you, as always.

Art Wiederman, CPA: It's like when you and I text each other and say, Are you busy? And the answer is never, no, you know, it's just, yeah, it's nuts. But you know what? It's great and we love you. And I love serving the dentists of America. And, you know, we do some great stuff. So I'm going to start off a little bit of statistics just to kind of set the table for this. So, you know, according to a May 20 twenty one ADA Health Policy Institute poll, thirty five point eight percent of owner dentists are recruiting dental assistants, twenty eight point eight percent are looking for hygienists, twenty six point five are looking for administrative staff and thirteen point one percent are in search of Associate Dentists, we know that the number one problem before there was a pandemic was finding good team members. Now after the pandemic it's a lot worse. We all know that we're going to talk about that.

You know, increased competition in the talent pool. Smaller pool of applicants, increased competition. 80 percent of dentists report that hiring dental hygienists and assistants is extremely challenging. More than 70 percent report that hiring administrative staff is very challenging and 50 percent report the same challenges for Associate Dentists and the last statistic as I am required by law to give out numbers since I am a CPA, among dentists who are actively searching to fill open positions, seventy three point one percent increased pay for dental assistants. Seventy point seven percent increased pay for hygienists and sixty seven point one percent increase pay for administrative staff.

So Ali, with all that in mind, we know how challenging. I mean, you're talking to dentists, not only your clients, but groups and webinars and podcasts are on. I mean, let's start off by helping our listeners, what can we do to help dentists keep and retain their employees and keep them from jumping ship? So maybe some ideas?

Ali Oromchian: Yeah, I mean, that's the million dollar question, right? That's the million dollar question. And you know, those statistics are just exhausting to hear because you know what? What you hear right now is this phenomenon called the great resignation. And that is really kind of true in what's happening across all industries, but especially in health care. And you know, I read something the other day that it was four million Americans quit their jobs in April of 21 April 2021. And then and then it happened in May, June and July as well. Four million each of those. Right. And so when you think about, you know, our population is about 300 million, I mean, you're talking, you know, I mean, you're talking like, you know, what is that like 10, you know, five percent, three percent of the population just kind of quit in four months, you know.

Art Wiederman, CPA: So that's why I couldn't get a parking space at the beach. I knew there was a reason. Yeah, that's right. Oh yeah. And a lot of it is inability. I read one article, Ali, that it's, you know, we have a lot of a lot of folks in the workforce that child care has become. And we're going to talk about, you know, paid leave and all that a little later. But child care has become so expensive and not available, right? You know, that's one reason, but keep going.

Ali Oromchian: Well, no, you're exactly right. You're exactly right. And that's one of the big reasons why I think so many, you know, RDAs DAs, you know, hygienists and even some, you know, EFs have decided to just not come back into the workforce. And you know, I think to your point, you know, what can you do to kind of create an atmosphere where people do want to come back? Well, I think you hit it on the head. It's all it comes down to the culture of the practice, right? I mean, you hear that word a lot, but it really does come down to that because someone's making a decision between, you know, do I come to work and come to work somewhere where maybe I don't feel appreciated and loved and I don't, you know, my having a great time and I'm not, you know, pushing myself? Or do I stay home and raise my child right or whatnot?

Art Wiederman, CPA: So I mean, what are your clients and the dentist that thousands that you talk to, what are they telling you about why people are leaving? I mean, are they giving you, you know, giving you reasons?

Ali Oromchian: Well, right. It's really falling into a couple of categories. I mean, one, I think, is that people are not coming back because they just are deciding to spend more time with their own families, which I think comes down to this whole, you know, child care taking issue. Right. And I think but I think there's more to it than that right. There's a lot more to it. I think it's some of it has to do with, you know, benefits, I think it has to do with culture. I think it has to do with, you know, do they feel challenged at work? Do they feel like they're you know, that they're being driven down this path of growth, right? Is their purpose aligned with the practice purpose? I mean, I think all of these things are the real the real reasons compensation is actually not the reason that comes to mind. I mean, I think I think a lot of people think it's comes down to, oh, well, someone's going to make 50 cents more or a dollar more somewhere and they're going to jump. But it's really not about that. It really comes down to culture.

Art Wiederman, CPA: It really is. And it's kindness. It's flexibility. It's empathy. It's, you know. You've got to have a place, folks, and I think I did my last podcast on, you know, how to treat your team. And you need to communicate. It's more important than ever, Ali, isn't it, to communicate with your team? Suzie at the front desk. How are you doing? How's everything? How's your family? I mean, you don't have to deal with all of their family problems or their financial problems or their kids problems. But just how are you doing? I mean, I would say, you know, once a quarter, sit down with your employees and just say, just how are you? How are we doing here? Are we good? Any issues you want to talk about? I mean, there's nothing wrong. You're the lawyer here. There's nothing wrong with doing that, right?

Ali Oromchian: No, no, no. There isn't. I mean, I think everybody has a balance of what they're comfortable doing and not doing with their teams right. You know, we have some doctors who say, Look, you know, I don't want to know anything about their personal lives, right? I don't want to know anything about anything that they do over the weekends and this and that, because I think it'll upset me if I do, because I might find out about something that I shouldn't find out about. And so, you know, there's that group and then there's the group that is really kind of knee deep in those in people's personal lives.

And, you know, what did you do and how old are your kids and what do they like, you know? And so everybody's a little bit different. And I think in that sense and but I think to your point, I think having that ability to have some conversations with them can only help morale. And people who are, you know, in one way from a management style can bring office managers or others into it to counteract kind of what they lack, maybe right? And which goes to the core values of the of the practice. And do those align with the employee's core values right? If that makes sense.

Art Wiederman, CPA: Oh, it makes it makes total sense. And again, it's about. I'm sorry it comes back to leadership. And some you don't like the word leadership, but if you can be a really good leader and you let everybody know, Hey, listen, we're going to have a great 2022 and again, my first, either my first or second podcast, I haven't decided of 2022 is literally going to be about how to make your plan for 2022. We don't get into that right now, but let's talk about some tips for hiring. I mean, you know, right now, as we talked about, lots of people are hiring, you know what I say?

Twenty eight, twenty nine percent are looking for, you know, hygienists, 36 percent looking for dental assistants. So give us some tips on how do we get people to your practice and what's as opposed to another job? And what are some of the right ways? Well, we'll get into the right ways to do this, but let's start off with some tips on how to get some people to come to your practice as opposed to the practice down the block.

Ali Oromchian: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, you know, I think there's a couple of ways these days that we're seeing people successfully achieve recruitment of good employees, right? I mean, I think the olden days of kind of going on Craigslist and, you know, some of these other things that is long gone now. And so the best thing I think to do is to see if your team can do the recruitment themselves. If you truly have a great place to work, right? It's a you're a great doctor and I don't mean clinically, but in terms of leadership style. The morale of the practices is high. You know, all those things are pointing in the right direction then let's have the employees go and recruit their friends. They're all friends with other hygienists, RDAs, DAs and so on and so forth. So, so let's tell them about how great the workplace environment is and let's recruit that way. So that's always a really, really good approach.

I think another way, though, is if you're going to go the route of, let's say Indeed or some of these other kind of websites that help with recruitment is to write a job posting that truly gets the essence of what your practice is all about. I think so many people just say we're looking for a hygienist and four years of experience and so on, so that doesn't really separate you right from anybody else. Everyone's looking for a hygienist, everyone's looking for an RDA. So the question is, how is your practice different? And I think the practices that are able to put out their personality the best in these job posts then do attract more candidates. It doesn't mean they're all good candidates, right? You got to we got to remember that.

Art Wiederman, CPA: Oh my god, I will tell you. And this is something doctors, you know, I've had people that have interviewed for my CPA firm. Remember, I ran a CPA firm for 33 years. Ali, you've got one or two employees that work for you. We all know how this works is like, Oh my God, that was the best interview that I've ever had. And then they come into work and it's like, What did they do with that person? Did that person miss the plane or the bus or something? Like that. But you're right, you don't right the best. Some of the best people I ever interviewed I had in my CPA firm.

You know, my dear, dear friend, you know her. Pam Chamberlain and Pam is one of the best dental CPAs in the country, and she's just over the top. And we had a receptionist in the CPA firm that Pam and I had before we merged our firms and it just wasn't working out. It just was not. We don't need to get into why or anything. And she says, You know, Art I've got a young lady that works. She's working in retail. She's on my softball team Tuesday nights. I'm going to talk to her. So we did an interview and interviews. She's one of the best hires I ever made. I mean, in there, right? So talking to your people because your employees know who you know, what would work in your dental office?

Ali Oromchian: That's right. Yeah, that's true. Yeah, that's exactly right. Yeah. And you know, it's a great, great way of bringing like minded people together. Now, of course, there are some drawbacks that, you know, if things go sour, yeah, there is the likelihood that, you know, they all kind of leave at the same time.

Art Wiederman, CPA: Well, yeah, but that's probably if you're a Twinkie, we call them, or we won't use some of the bad words because this is not a bad word podcast. But we use the word Twinkie if you are a Twinkie. People are not going to work for you, no matter how nice the people you hire are, so. So let's talk about some do's and don'ts as far as, OK, so we find somebody we like. We've done the interview. First of all, when you when you recommend your clients interview people, I always, you know, do you recommend that a third person be in the room for the interview so the doctor is talking? Do you like to have a couple of the team? How do you like the interviews to go? Because I always worry about a doctor being in a room with the door closed with someone, you know, bad stuff can happen. I've heard stories. How do you like to do that?

Ali Oromchian: Yeah. I mean, I think I think interviews have to be kind of a multifaceted approach, right? So I think first is you do a phone interview and you make sure that they can communicate well, that they are, you know, interested in a position and certain so as to not waste everyone's time right. And a lot of candidates, a lot of candidates go by the wayside just during the phone interview because there's just not there's things that just don't match right. And so, I think you do the phone interview first and then the second interview, and this is, I think, really where the rubber meets the road. And you know, this is a little bit controversial because some people don't like to do this from an HR perspective. But I think doing a working interview was a great idea. You know, in a dental practice and there are right ways of doing dental to do working interviews and there are wrong ways, right? And if you do it the wrong way, you can definitely come back and haunt you.

But I think if you do a good working interview and the employee comes, they you know, they work for maybe four to five hours a day, maybe go to lunch with your team, you know, have a little bit of time where their guard is down and they have some honest conversation. I think you're going to get a lot more than doing a traditional sit down interview like the one you're talking about.

Art Wiederman, CPA: How about some tips on working interviews you'd mentioned? What are some do's and don'ts on that?

Ali Oromchian: So from a just a purely HR perspective, I think what's important to let the employee know is what time they should arrive, which I always recommend it be like mid-morning, you know, after the morning huddle and after the craziness of the first patients have come and gone. So have them come mid-morning. Maybe stay through lunch or go to lunch with the rest of the team and then leave like mid-afternoon right.

In between there or before I should say this all starts. You want to tell them the time to come and time to leave, how much you're going to pay them Art. This is something that people forget, right? They forget how much, how much they're going to pay the person. And so, so the employee thinks they're getting, you know, let's say it's a hygienist. They think they're getting sixty dollars an hour. And the doctor, you know, employer, they say no, I was just going to pay $20 dollars an hour because it's just a working interview. And so there's like some real differences there and so, so important to let them know how much they're going to get paid for that interview.

And then here's the key. If you're going to have anybody come in and to do a working interview and they're going to actually pick up a handpiece or type on a computer or do anything at all having to do with work, they need to be paid for it, right? They need to be paid for it. And there was there was this one doctor. And, you know, obviously we won't mention names, but there was one doctor that would do, you know, working interviews for like weeks at a time? Right. So like the person would come in and instead of just hiring them, he would call it a work interview for like two weeks, this person would be like working in the office. And then finally, one of the girls got wise was like, Oh, this is not a working interview. This is me just working.

Art Wiederman, CPA: Yes, and I'm an employee.

Ali Oromchian: I'm an employee. And so there's you know, there's little things like that.

Art Wiederman, CPA: Is there any paperwork that someone in a four or five hour working interview has to fill out?

Ali Oromchian: So, you know, I think if you document sort of the terms that we were just talking about, what day they're coming, what time they're coming and leaving, how much they're getting paid for that one day you don't really need anything else, right? And you cut them a check at the end of the day. And that's it. If you hire them after that, then of course you need all the new hire documents and everything else.

Art Wiederman, CPA: We'll talk a little bit about that in a minute. So before we go into some of the meat of what we're going to talk about today, Ali. So tell us a little bit about HR for Health and your law firm and how folks get a hold of you. So tell us what you do with HR for Health, for the for the two or three dentists in America that listen to this podcast who don't know you well?

Ali Oromchian: Well, as you know, you know, I'm a dental attorney by trade in our law firm works primarily with dentists across the country on practice transitions, lease reviews, partnership agreements, the sale practices. And it's, you know, we just celebrated our 15 year anniversary last week.

Art Wiederman, CPA: Congratulations, that's a big deal.

Ali Oromchian: It was. It was, it was. It was a lot of fun. And as you know, it's a lot of work to get to this point, but it's, you know, with a great clients that we all have. It's a lot of fun. So, yeah, so that's the law firm side. But then, you know, about 10 years ago, what I saw was this crazy trend where a lot of our doctors were getting sued for these HR violations. And when we looked at the marketplace to see what's out there trying to help them, what we saw was, you know, payroll companies that were giving them employment manuals similar to what they were giving to a dry cleaners or a coffee shop. So that didn't work.

Some of them were going to lawyers and spending a few thousand bucks on an employment manual, you know, usually four to five thousand dollars to get one that was good just for that year. And then they would have to kind of do it again the following year, which is kind of crazy amount of money to spend on an employment manual. And then there were some mom and pop organizations, and they still exist even today that are still doing an employment manual for dentists. And they, you know, they kind of put some bells and whistles on it and try to make it kind of more fancy. But really, what it is it is what it is. It's just a pamphlet of paper saying what your you know, what your rules are, but even those, you know, are a few thousand dollars, you know, four to five thousand and you are not don't really do the job.

And so we created HR for Health so that it's a full software product that helps you hire and manage and maintain and retain those employees and then also improve their performance through our online and software tools. And so. So it's been a really great fun. So we're seeing it grow and seeing so many doctors, you know, kind of sign up for it and not only become compliant and safe. So, you know, there's not that kind of risk that legal risk, but more importantly, get the most out of their employees and build them.

Art Wiederman, CPA: And the nice thing about you doing this is that if, God forbid, they get sued. Yeah, I hear that you're a pretty good attorney representing.

Ali Oromchian: Yeah, we are. We are very, very successful on that front. Knock on wood and a lot of it, though it comes down to documentation, right? And so when there are already on our software and they have a really good documentation, we really just kill it in the courtroom and those that don't, you know, we can still kind of position things. But having the documentation is so key.

And you know what you know, and you and I have been doing this for a long time, of course. But you know what kind of breaks my heart a lot of times is when I hear, you know, a doctor being sold on, let's say, this employment manual and they're told, Hey, that's really all you need, right? And it feels good, right? It feels good to be like, Oh, great, I spent this money and I just get this employee manual and I'm good to go. But it's just such a farce.

You know, it's like it's kind of like if a dentist gave you a toothbrush and they said, Here's a toothbrush, this is all you need. Have a good time. Have a good time. They don't tell you about the toothpaste. They don't tell you about the angle that you should brush your teeth, how long you should brush your teeth. And you know, they don't tell you about all those other things that kind of go into having good oral hygiene. Well, the same is true when it comes to an employee manual. It's just not enough. And yet, you know, it's an easy thing to fall trap, to. And so that's why, you know, we've kept our costs super low to offset all of that, so that it's not a cost conversation, it's really just an education conversation.

Art Wiederman, CPA: So, Ali. If somebody was interested in getting a hold of you and your company, how do we, go and give out your email, website, you know, if you get one of those banners flying over the forty nineers stadium, I mean, however, they get ahold of you. Your phone number. How do we get a hold of you?

Ali Oromchian: Sure. Sure, absolutely. I think that the best way is probably to go to www.HRforHealth.com, and that's HR for health dot com. And just kind of clicking the form there, and one of our team members will kind of do a demo of the software for you to see if it's a good fit for your office. Or you guys can email me directly and I'll get you in right in touch with the right person. And my email is just my initials ao@HRforHealth.com, so AO@HRforHealth.com. And those of you who already have my law firm email, you can email me there too, of course, but I can get you in touch with the right people.

Art Wiederman, CPA: So sounds good. All right, let's get back to talking about some of this wonderful employment stuff, Ali. So did we talk about offer letters and making offers some do's and don'ts in that area? Let's get into that a little bit.

Ali Oromchian: Yeah, absolutely. That's something that usually everyone forgets to do, and an offer letter is really great. And the reason it's such a great tool is because for everyone in an office other than a doctor or associates, you should just rely on the offer letter as your tool for communicating, you know, the terms of the position, right? And so you don't really need a contract for anybody else in the office other than a doctor or associate. And so it's a really good document to have. I mean, you'll have the start date, it'll have the compensation and we'll have whether they're exempt or nonexempt. Will have all those details. And then, you know, because, you know, dentists are really worried about their associates taking staff or taking your patients or other intellectual properties, that's why we recommend the, you know, recommend a contract now.

Art Wiederman, CPA: Yeah. So you answered one of my questions, which you don't you say we if we have a good offer letter and I'm assuming that you have recommended formats for offer letters, but you don't really. We don't need an employment contract for non dentists. You do recommend one if I'm hiring an associate dentist, right?

Ali Oromchian: I do. Yeah, yeah, definitely one for an associate dentist, but not necessarily one for anybody else in the office. Sometimes we'll get a doctor who wants to give an office manager a contract because they're just that valuable to them. And that's sometimes OK. It's just what you have to remember is that, you know, once you sign a contract, especially if it's for like one or two years or whatnot, you're really kind of stuck with that person the same way that person is kind of stuck with you. And so, you know, with a doctor associate, the reason we do it, you know, we put the contracts together is because we want intellectual property protections.

Art Wiederman, CPA: Now I know that in California and I will go, I am not a lawyer. I don't play one on TV. That's why I have smart people like Ali come onto my podcast. California is one of the few states for associate dentists that basically covenants not to compete or not enforceable as I understand it. But aren't there some other things in an associate contract you can do to protect the doctor?

Ali Oromchian: Yeah, you're exactly right. Yeah, the covenant not to compete are totally illegal in associate agreements here in California and in many states. There's some states that of course, allow for them, you know, as long as it's a reasonable distance. But in California, there is none. But there are other things you can do to protect yourself. You know, the intellectual property protection language that we were talking about, you know, a lot of that can be can be put into these contracts and it helps them helps the doctor owner prevent staff from leaving. Well, let me rephrase that. It prevents the associate from trying to take this staff without penalty.

Art Wiederman, CPA: So we can do like a covenant. Not to maybe not to treat or covenant not to solicit employees or referral sources, especially with the specialists and stuff. Yeah, OK. So I remember you taught me years ago that when you hire an employee, there's something like 17 or 18 different forms. Well, I don't remember what my wife asked me to bring home from the grocery store, but I do remember stuff like this, unfortunately. Fortunately for me. Anyway, but so when we hire people, let's talk about record keeping employee records, what well, let's spend a little bit of time on this. We have some time left. Tell our doctors what they have to do to protect themselves.

Ali Oromchian: Yeah. Yes. And you know, this is this is becoming a real thing Art and as, you know, your I don't know if it was the next seminar you're doing or the one after that that you're doing on the requirements of the dentist have to do because of what was it, the money that they got, the

Art Wiederman, CPA: HHS, the oh yeah, they have to file on the portal.

Ali Oromchian: Yeah, yeah. So that's coming up next year, of course, and you're going to do a whole big seminar on it. Well, one thing that's happened ever since COVID occurred and this is something that is becoming more and more relevant. And one of the reasons why HR for Health is so popular right now as well is that the personnel records side of things is becoming that much more important for documentation. I mean, it's always been important from a legal perspective, but now it's even more important because of all these new PPP rules that came out.

I mean, we're expecting audits with these issues over the next many years. We're expecting employers to be asked a lot of questions about their documentation, about when people took sick leave and things of that nature. So. So in California and other states have are enacting new laws starting in January that extends the personnel record retention requirements, sometimes from two to four years. So, you know, you can imagine what that does in many situations because it in essence elongates the time that an employee can come after you for claims, right? Whether they're wage and hour claims, civil rights violations or other things.

So, it's important to have really good documentation and not having it in paper, I think, is key. And this is really the difference, right? I think a lot of people are still used to doing things on paper and putting it in storage files. Well, things get stolen as you and I know. Sure. Especially when an employee knows they're going to file a lawsuit, you know they will do whatever it takes to take their file. And even if it's under lock and key people find their way. So, getting, you know, making sure it's electronically stored, I think is very important. Making sure you got electronic signatures is important.

And then, of course, the basics, the ones that you were saying, you know, you need 18 documents here in California, but some states have a little bit less, some have a little bit more. And these are required documents that you need to have for each employee. And so it's vital that everyone get this before, you know they're a victim of these kind of crazy lawsuits.

Art Wiederman, CPA: Yeah. And in these days, when people have been unemployed and they don't have money and they're lost their homes or lost their rental property and unable to, I mean, they're going to go after a deep pocket. I mean, are you seeing an increase in, we'll talk about that in a minute, but I'm sure you're seeing an increase in these lawsuits and stuff.

Ali Oromchian: Crazy amounts.

Art Wiederman, CPA: So one other thing that I get questioned about some time and I always defer to the attorneys is there's federal employment law and their state employment law. Do they often contradict? That was a loaded question.

Ali Oromchian: No, they don't contradict ever. They're perfect.

Art Wiederman, CPA: All law is perfect, right?

Ali Oromchian: It's just like the tax law. It all makes sense. Exactly. You don't even need to read it twice.

Art Wiederman, CPA: It's like my golf score. All employment law is quoted approximately. Yeah, so, I mean, what do you do when you have a federal law and then you have a state law and we're not sure what? How does that work?

Ali Oromchian: So, you're hitting something that really separates us at HR for Health from everybody else. And it's because of exactly what you just described. So when you have a federal law versus a state law or state law versus a county law or a county law versus a city law, I mean, it just kind of trickles down right, right? They as long as the law that is more strict is applied, that is the part of that law that applies to you.

So OK, let me give an example, right? Let's say that. And this is actually a real example. Let's say that in California, we have the sick leave law that tells you get up to three days of sick leave for every employee, and it accrues with one hour every 30 hours that somebody works. OK? Some counties and some cities have a rule that's very different than that. It's not one for every 30, but it's, let's say, one for every 20 hours or twenty five hours. OK, so for that city, if you work in that city, you have to abide by the one 25 rule, not the one 30 rule that the state. Right? And so if the rule was something like one every 40 hours, which is less strict than the California version, the state version, then you have to adhere to the more strict one, which is the California one. So the same thing applies with federal law. Right.

And so what's happening now and what President Biden is doing, as many of you have seen, is that he is passing laws that with specific provisions that do not allow states to go less strict than he has already in his in the law that's being passed. So in other words, he's saying, look, this is the law throughout the country and everyone will abide by it. If you want to make it more strict, that's fine, but you can not go less.

Art Wiederman, CPA: And so we have to go with the federal law.

Ali Oromchian: You have to then go with a federal law, which, as you know, is going to be really difficult on most small employers like our clients because those rules are not necessarily keeping small businesses in mind. They're, you know, they're kind of more applicable to sort of the larger small businesses. So.

Art Wiederman, CPA: So just to give and again, guys, if you're not working with a specialist in HR like Ali and his team and HR for Health, you just need to be. I mean, I was taken to the labor board once in my 33 years of owning a business and I had my documentation down and the lady at the Labor Board said you win and I mean, so it's all about the. Talk about the labor boards in most states, Ali, are they more employer friendly or employee friendly? And I know the answer to this question.

Ali Oromchian: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. They're all employee friendly. There's no doubt about that. The question is how, how employee friendly are there? And that all depends on sort of the political landscape of that state, right? If you're, you know, if you're a red state, they're going to be a little bit less employee friendly. If you're a blue state, they're going to be more employee friendly. But they're all they're all employee friendly, right? There's just no doubt about that. There's just no doubt about that. But, you know, if you're in Texas and you've got HR for Health, I mean, you've got, you know, you know, a get out of jail free card because they love documentation.

You know, in Washington or California, you know, it's a lot less so. You know, you still need a lot of good documentation, but you also have to, you know, have, you know, really good representation to win.

Art Wiederman, CPA: What I used to do when I was an employer is before I met you. What I used to do is I used to if I had an employee and we had an issue and we weren't sure how the laws worked, what we would do is I would get my office manager and I would get the employee and I would call the labor attorney and I would basically or the labor board and I would call them up. And I would say, All right, guys, here's the deal. Here's the law. I mean, here's the issue What do we do? And we always follow the law because how many employers have you worked for as the attorney or the HR company where they say well, I'm just going to do this and it'll be OK. And this law is not fair. How many times have you heard that in your career?

Ali Oromchian: Right, exactly. Well, that's exactly right. That's exactly right. I mean, a lot of these rules are very anti employer. And so it does feel very stressful. But I like that. You know, I like that method of what you used to do because it does help the conversation. But what we're seeing now is that employers aren't even getting that opportunity right. If you're not doing things correctly, your employee is leaving for another job, going and talking to an attorney and quickly sending you letters asking for, you know, asking for documentation, which basically is just a sign that they're going to go, file a law suit you know?

Art Wiederman, CPA: And I'd like to make a recommendation to all of you. I'm not the attorney, we have an attorney on the call here, so he can correct me if I'm wrong. So when you employ somebody or you interview somebody, my recommendation would be to say, folks, here's the deal. This office follows the applicable laws to a tee. So if there is ever an issue on any type of an HR matter, we are going to follow the law. We are going to go to the authorities who know the law. We work with HR for Health, you know, and we are going to make sure that we sit down. So if there's I just want you to know, Susie, when you come to work here, this is done by the book. We don't mess around. We are going to make sure that everything is done by the law and we are going to make sure that everybody follows the law. Are you OK with something like that Ali?

Ali Oromchian: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think I think that's one of the big, I think reasons to do it. To have an employment manual, to have these conversations upfront with these employees just to be able to communicate that to them. So absolutely right.

Art Wiederman, CPA: Right. So the last thing I want to touch on because again, you and I could talk for days about this stuff, talk about maybe even some war stories here, the most common mistakes that dentists make that get them sued by employees. I think that might be a two hour deal.

Ali Oromchian: You're right, you're right, I think we are we could do a whole thing on this. I mean, I think it falls into a couple of quick categories. One is not having your, you know, overtime, lunches and breaks compensation side of things kind of really dialed in and figured out. A lot of people still make mistakes on that, right?

You know, how do I pay somebody? Do I pay high hygienists over time? Do I? Do I not? What do I do with the associate? You know, all those details, I think, become really, really important. And if you forget to do it or you don't do it, then that gets you your sued.

And then the other thing is not having a system in place for terminating somebody, right? You know, in what I mean by that is, you know, if someone you know, complains and then you retaliate against them, that's going to be a problem, right? If you, if somebody asked for a leave because of COVID or whatnot and you let them go, that's going to be a problem. So having a system in place where you know who to go to and have these conversations and how to make sure you're protected, I think is super, super important. And of course, that's what we do at HR for Health. We're that support system.

Art Wiederman, CPA: And obviously, if anybody is thinking about making a change. And by the way, we talk about all the time. If you have an employee that is not doing a good job and you have to make a change, it is legal to make a change. You just have to do it in the right way. So you never, ever, ever make a change in your practice and let someone go without talking to someone like Ali Oromchian and not making sure that you have all your ducks in a row and documentation and doing it right. And you know, I mean, just you just don't do that so.

Well. You are amazing, my friend. You saved the world during COVID. I mean, I'm telling you for those of you. You know, Ali was the voice of the California Dental Association and was on webinars with thousands of dentists and helping through the FFCRA and the sick pay rules during COVID. And do we lay them off or do we send them to Hawaii? I mean, what do we do here, right? And you know, so you were a you were a gift to the dental profession.

Any final comments from my listeners about, I mean, going into twenty twenty two some, you know, somebody, if they're not doing this, they need to be doing this thing, anything like that?

Ali Oromchian: Well, thanks, Art, and I appreciate those kind words and you were right there alongside me. I mean, we were both doing so many of these, and it was it was a pleasure to be able to kind of give back to the community during a really, really kind of crazy and scary time. And you know, I would say my only parting words would be, you know, don't get down on all these new requirements. There is a lot there. We understand that and we know no one's taking it lightly. But the good news is that you have great resources at your fingertips, right? You have Art, you have me, you have HR for Health, you have Eide Bailly. You have so many that can help you through it.

It's one of those times in history where you know reach out and ask for help. Let us kind of help you manage through this kind of crazy time because it's going to be a lot less expensive. It's going to be a lot less stressful for you. And more importantly, you'll know it's done right. And that's half the battle, right? Is just knowing that it's done right so you can move on with your life and your family.

Art Wiederman, CPA: So one more time give out the best way for people to get a hold of you.

Ali Oromchian: The best way is probably go to www.HRforHealth.com. It's HRforHealth.com, or you can email me at and then I'll get you to the right person and my email is my initials ao@hrforhealth.com.

Art Wiederman, CPA: Ali Oromchian, thank you so much for imparting your amazing wisdom and everything you've done to help the dental profession. I mean, we CPAs called ourselves the financial first responders. I think you and your team were the employee and HR first responders through this pandemic. It was a, I just hope we never go through anything like this again in your lifetime or my lifetime.

Ali Oromchian: Yeah, me too.

Art Wiederman, CPA: So hang with me as I take the podcast out, everybody. Thank you so much for listening. We have thousands of people that listen to this podcast. I get emails from all over the country. Thank you so much for listening for this. I can't believe it's been three freakin years that we've done this. It's been an absolute labor of love. Thank you to the wonderful people on my team at Eide Bailly who have helped me, with all the guests that we've had on this podcast over the last three years. We're going to keep doing this. I love being behind a microphone. My friends and family say, You talk too much. I go, Yeah, that's just me. What am I going to tell you?

And so just remember, go to our partner Decisions in Dentistry magazine, www.DecisionsinDentistry.com for great clinical content and one hundred and forty continuing education classes at one very, very reasonable price. Give me a call six five seven two seven nine three two four three. If we can help you on the ERTC, the HHS Provider Relief Fund, tax planning, financial planning, psychiatry, psychology, counseling. We do it all. We help doctors with everything. And I've spent my entire thirty seven year career dedicated to the dental profession and it has been an absolute joy.

Do go on to our website for our two webinars. www.EideBailly.com/events. Remember December 13th we're doing a webinar on year-end tax planning and the new build back better law. Whether it is law or not law by then, who knows? We think it will be, but we never know. And also on January 21st and that's going to be January 21st is going to be nine to 11 a.m. Pacific Time. We're going to be doing a webinar with Tyler and Ashley from our HHS team to talk about every step that you have to take to make sure you're compliant on filing on the HHS Provider Relief Fund portal. What you must do if you got more than ten thousand dollars between July one, December 31. You have to file between January one and March 31.

Well, with that, I want to thank everybody for listening. Please tell your friends about our podcast. Please subscribe. So you get every podcast every other week when we publish. And with that, thank you again so much and thank you all. And that is it for this episode of the Art of Dental Finance and Management with Art Wiederman, CPA, and we'll see you next time.