Employment Agreements with Associate Dentists

The main purposes of employment agreements with your associate dentists are to make sure everyone in the employment relationship understands their obligations and to protect your dental practice. The employment agreement will define your relationship with your associate dentist, and should be as comprehensive as possible. An attorney with experience helping dental practices with employment matters can help you draft an employment agreement that fits your dental practice. The employment attorneys and dental practice attorneys at Nardone Limited routinely draft employment agreements for dental practices and advise dental practices on employment issues. For more information about employing associate dentists, see our blog articles about noncompete agreements and compensating associate dentists.

Important Employment Agreement Provisions

An employment agreement between a dental practice and associate dentist must set forth the basics of the employment relationship. First, the employment agreement must contain an employment term, which is the timeframe for the employment. Next, an employment agreement should define the associate’s compensation in terms of amount and structure. See Nardone Limited’s post about compensating associate dentists for more information. Then the employment agreement should outline the associate’s duties and responsibilities, including a work schedule.

Some provisions in the employment agreement will protect your dental practice’s information and clients. First, the agreement should include non-disclosure promises. The associate dentist will promise not to retain or disclose patient lists, referral source lists, practice forms, business and development plans, and computer information. Second, the employment agreement must have a noncompetition clause.

The employment agreement will also include terms that define detailed aspects of your employment relationship. The agreement should set forth the procedures and policies for vacation and time off. Your dental practice may also provide fringe benefits for associate dentists that should be defined in the employment agreement.

Other provisions can provide legal protection to your dental practice in case of a dispute arising from the employment relationship. Part of the employment agreement should state under what circumstances each party has the right to terminate employment and define what happens in case of termination of employment. In an indemnification and contribution clause, the associate dentist will agree to reimburse the employer for any liabilities that arise out of the associate dentist’s conduct.

Anticipating Ownership

If the associate dentist has an interest in owning the dental practice, you should discuss ownership with the associate as early as possible. Your employment agreement can anticipate ownership by providing for options to acquire an interest in the dental practice. You may define goals for your associate dentist to meet before the associate can purchase an interest. Any option to purchase can set forth purchase price, terms of payment, and structure of the co-ownership.

Contact Nardone Limited

If you have any concerns about employment matters or business matters at your dental practice, specifically regarding employment agreements with associate dentists, you should contact Nardone Limited. Nardone Limited, a Columbus, Ohio law firm, provides specialized dental practice representation across the state of Ohio. The dental practice attorneys and business attorneys at Nardone Limited represent dentists in such diverse areas as: (i) buying and selling dental practices, (ii) asset purchase agreements, (iii) employment contracts, (iv) labor and employment representation, (v) human resource representation, (vi) Ohio Dental Board representation, (vii) lease agreements, (viii) real estate purchase agreements, (ix) tax planning, and (x) estate planning. The staff at Nardone Limited understand that a dental practice is a business and strive to handle transactions while minimizing each client’s time spent away from the office. Whether your practice is beginning, transitioning, or encountering adversity, Nardone Limited provides the legal and tax planning guidance your practice needs. Contact Nardone Limited today to discuss your practice and how Nardone Limited may help you.