If you are a doctor contemplating a change in employment, the employment contract you signed at the time of hire will provide guidelines and restrictions to consider before making a move. The physician employment agreement typically dictates how a physician can end employment (termination clause), any limitations on where they can work and for how long those limits will be in place (non-competition agreement), and any repayment obligations a physician may have for financial incentives received when hired such as student loan forgiveness or signing bonuses.
Non-compete agreements are often required as part of employment to protect an employer from an employee taking their skills (medical services) to a competitor within a defined geographic area, or taking patients with them when they go. A non-compete agreement must be reasonable in scope and last only for a specified period of time, usually two years. Violations of a non-competition agreement often result in legal consequences; however, if you have new employment in mind, your previous employer may be willing to negotiate some of the terms of the agreement. Working with an experienced employment law attorney is recommended.
Termination clauses spell out how employment can end. A physician employment agreement often ends when (A) the agreement term expires, (B) a party declines to renew a PEA, or (C) a party exercises a termination clause during the term of the PEA. The latter is often just a matter of providing the required written notice of the intent to end the PEA prior to the end of the term as agreed.
Paying Back the Perks
The terms of your Physician Employment Agreement may require that you pay back all or part of any signing bonuses, student loan forgiveness, or reimbursement you received for moving expenses. The amount is often prorated based upon the percentage of the employment term completed.
Contact an Experienced Physician Employment Agreement Attorney
If you are a medical professional who is in violation of your physician employment agreement, it is important to work with an experienced employment law attorney. If you are considering new employment and want to negotiate a fair physician employment agreement, working with an employment law attorney will help you achieve a favorable result. Contact the Davenport Iowa employment law offices of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson PC for immediate assistance at 641-355-6478.