Human Resources 2

Human Resources for Dental Offices: Can employee resign and then change her mind?

July 17, 2014
Human Resource experts Tim Twigg and Rebecca Crane address tge employee who resigned then changed her mind, and tattoos and piercings in the dental office

QUESTION: One of our employees submitted a resignation letter but then changed her mind. She isn’t a good employee, but we let her rescind the letter because we thought we’d be on shaky legal ground. Could we have held her to it?

ANSWER: Yes, you could have. If an employee has given their resignation and then rescinds it, the employer has the right to deny the employee’s request and state that the resignation stands. Best practice would be to ensure that all resignations are in writing, and treat all resigning employees the same in similar situations. If an employer wants to exercise his or her right to allow a good employee to rescind their resignation, but have a poor employee’s resignation stand, then it is important that the employer has documented the performance of both employees to show a legitimate and nondiscriminatory reason for allowing one employee to rescind their resignation and not the other.

QUESTION: One of our employees has tattoos on her upper arms. She usually wears long sleeves, but summer is coming. Our dress code does not currently address tattoos, but we would like to add the requirement that tattoos must be covered. Is this legal?

ANSWER: You can adopt a dress code that addresses tattoos, piercings, and other personal appearance issues as long as your policies are legitimate (based on business necessity), do not discriminate unlawfully, or do not affect one protected group (race, sex, age, religion, etc.) more than another.

To avoid gender discrimination claims, make sure that standards are applied equally to both sexes. Although much body art is simply for decoration, it can have religious implications, which may require you to accommodate them.

Assess your legitimate business interests that are at stake and tailor the policy to fit your needs. For example, it may be appropriate to have a policy that imposes greater restrictions on employees who have direct contact with customers and/or patients. Because state laws may impose additional restrictions, make sure to take those into account when you write your dress code policy.

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Human Resources Tips for Dental Practices is provided by Tim Twigg and Rebecca Crane of Bent Ericksen & Associates. Tim Twigg is president and Rebecca Crane is a human resource compliance consultant with Bent Ericksen & Associates. For 30 years, the company has been a leading authority in human resource and personnel issues, helping dentists deal successfully with the ever-changing and complex labor laws. To receive a complimentary copy of the company’s quarterly newsletter or to learn more about its services, call (800) 679-2760 or visit