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Total Health Law Primer: Questions Physicians Should Ask Before Signing an Employment Agreement

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Video Transcript

Lee: Hi, I'm Lee Little. This Total Health Law video primer discusses three practical questions for physicians considering an employment agreement. Can you complete all contingencies prior to the start date? Most physician employment agreements will require numerous representations by the physician regarding specific professional criteria that must be met before commencement of employment. If you are hesitant about your ability to complete all requirements before the start date, you may want to propose changes to the contract's verbiage, request a later start date to give you sufficient time, or ensure there is language recognizing that the parties may agree on a later start date without terminating the agreement.

Can you live with the non-compete agreement? Although it is difficult to evaluate leaving a job at the very moment you are starting it, it's important to do so with respect to restrictive covenants. Carefully study the non-compete agreement and ask yourself, if the job ends unexpectedly and sooner than I planned, what will I want to do next in my career? And would the restrictive covenants preclude that? Make sure you can live with the answer to that question.

Can you get out of the employment agreement early without severe penalties? Every contract should be signed with an exit strategy in mind. Before you sign the contract, consider your contractual options to end the relationship without penalties. Most physician employment agreements will contain a provision allowing the employer to terminate without cause, sort of a no-fault divorce provision. Generally speaking, it is desirable for the physician employee that such a provision be mutual.

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