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HR questions for dentists: Thoughtless employee leaves office in a lurch

Nov. 23, 2021
Although this employee was told no, she still left days early at the end of her employment, leaving the dental practice shorthanded. There are a couple of precautions dental offices can take.

QUESTION: An employee recently submitted her notice of resignation. She then submitted a PTO request asking for the last two days off that she would have worked. We approved the request for the afternoon of her last day but not for the day before. On her second to last day of work, she sent us a text message stating that she had left work four hours early and was not going to work at all on her final day. I don't think there is much we can do about it. She said she dropped off her uniforms and that she would mail back her key. She won't be eligible for rehire, and we won’t be able to get her signature on the resignation paperwork. Any other thoughts or steps we should take?

ANSWER FROM REBECCA BOARTFIELD, Bent Ericksen and Associates:
You're right, there's nothing you can do about this inappropriate behavior. If you ever get a call in the future from prospective employers asking about her employment time with you, you can certainly inform them of this behavior that left you shorthanded and caused your office problems.

To be safe, I’d actually recommend that you change the locks on your business. This is the only way to ensure its safety. Also, take other measures to secure the business, such as changing passwords/codes, blocking access to systems—whatever is pertinent to you and your business and her position.

It is ideal to have the employee complete a Notice of Resignation Form at the time he or she submits ther resignation notice. If you have this, or something else that's the equivalent, then that's great. If you didn't get anything in writing, you'll probably have to let it go. (Her current behavior suggests a lack of willingness to provide such things, even if you asked her to via email.) To wrap this up, I recommend sending an email or letter confirming the end of her employment as well as providing her the final check in accordance with your state’s law.


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