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Staff Warnings

Staff Warnings

Standards of performance and conduct for dental staff is a necessary management action in a dental practice just as in any other work setting.

If these standards are violated, disciplinary action should be taken in order to maintain effective operations and to provide staff with an opportunity to correct their shortcomings.

Here is an example of a corrective procedure:

Warning (Step 1)

For relatively minor infractions, the practice owner, office manager or your supervisor will talk to the staff member on the first offense to clarify the rule(s) involved and to explain what is expected in such circumstances. Generally, this type of reminder is sufficient and for most situations further action is not necessary.

Reprimand (Step 2)

For problems requiring additional action after a warning, the practice owner, office manager or your supervisor will prepare a written reprimand which reviews the facts of the situation, cites specific improvement that is to be demonstrated by the employee within a clearly defined period of time, and states the disciplinary action that will result if the improvement does not occur within the time designated. This written reprimand is to be signed by both the the practice owner, office manager or your supervisor and the employee after they have discussed the contents and will then be placed in the employee’s personnel file.

The issuance of a written reprimand is a serious step in that said reprimands are given careful attention when such employment matters as annual evaluations, salary increases and promotions are considered.

Penalties (Step 3)

After a reprimand, depending on the severity of the offense, if there is insufficient improvement within the stated time, disciplinary action such as suspension without pay, demotion or dismissal may result.


It is important to note that the severity of the offense may warrant not following the usual sequence of warning-reprimand-penalty so the disciplinary action taken may begin at any level. A reprimand, for example, could be given for a flagrant first offense and immediate dismissal could result without prior warning or suspension in the case of major acts of misconduct or serious dereliction of duty.

As with any HR policies always check with your lawyer or a local HR professional to ensure your HR policies are complaint with state and federal regulations.

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