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Dentists. Sexual Harassment. Discrimination.

June 18th, 2009 · No Comments

shutterstock_3640564Every day, it seems, a news story tells us about a dentist or dental professional who has molested a patient during a dental appointment. The nature of dentistry (and medicine) is such that we are in a prime situation to (a) sexually harass and (b) be accused of sexual harassment. Sometimes, though, allegations of sexual harassment (not physical contact) result from how a patient perceives a dentist or dental professional.

Mitchell Karp, MSOD, tells us in his article at, that dentists are considered powerful by patients, and because of this, patients may not feel confident telling their dentist when they feel uncomfortable.

Karp’s article, “How to avoid allegation of sexual harassment and/or discrimination: Five things you need to know,” recommends not making jokes about sensitive subjects and not using terms like “baby” or “honey” to speak to patients. He tells us that how you are perceived is more important than how you see yourself, when it comes to the doctor/patient relationship. Review Karp’s article here. You may also find these resources interesting…

This Nova Scotia Dental Association paper provides good tips for office protocol.

Crest’s Tool Kit offers this information on sexual harassment in the dental office.

This is interesting… “Female dentists vulnerable to harassment, survey finds.”

Review the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Policy Guidance on Current Issues of Sexual Harassment, as published in 1990.

Tags: Administrative

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