2 CLAUSES for Physician Secondary Employment

Physician Employment Secondary Employment Clauses

2 CLAUSES for Physician Secondary Employment

In the dynamic world of healthcare, physician employment contracts are more than just agreements outlining job roles and salaries. They often contain secondary employment clauses that can significantly impact a physician’s career choices and flexibility. Understanding these clauses is crucial for physicians navigating the complexities of their professional landscape.

  • Navigating Contractual Landscapes: Physicians must be adept at understanding the nuances of their employment contracts, especially when it comes to clauses governing secondary employment.
  • Balancing Multiple Roles: With the increasing trend of physicians seeking additional work opportunities, be it for financial reasons or professional growth, comprehending the implications of non-compete agreements and moonlighting clauses is essential.
  • Ensuring Career Flexibility: The ability to negotiate and comprehend these clauses can be the key to maintaining career flexibility and making informed decisions that align with long-term professional goals.

This article aims to shed light on the critical aspects of secondary employment clauses in physician contracts, offering insights into how they shape career trajectories and the best practices for navigating them. For physicians at any stage of their career, understanding these contractual nuances is not just beneficial – it’s imperative for professional growth and success.

Key Components of Secondary Employment Clauses

Secondary employment clauses in physician contracts typically include specific terms that govern additional work engagements:

  • Definition and Purpose:
    • These clauses define what constitutes secondary employment and outline the conditions under which it is permissible.
    • The primary aim is to prevent conflicts of interest and ensure that the physician’s primary job responsibilities are not compromised.
  • Typical Elements:
    • Restrictions on working for competing healthcare providers or institutions.
    • Requirements for obtaining prior approval from the primary employer for secondary work.

For comprehensive guidelines on contract clauses, physicians can refer to the AMA Contract Guidelines.

Legal Implications of Secondary Employment Clauses

The legal implications of secondary employment clauses in physician contracts are substantial and warrant careful consideration. These clauses not only define the boundaries of a physician’s professional activities but also have significant legal consequences.

  • Understanding Contractual Restrictions:
    • Secondary employment clauses typically include restrictions on working for competing healthcare providers or engaging in activities that could conflict with the physician’s primary employment.
    • Violating these clauses can lead to legal disputes, potential job termination, and even lawsuits for breach of contract.
  • Impact on Physicians’ Rights and Obligations:
    • These clauses can significantly impact a physician’s career flexibility and choices, limiting opportunities for additional income or professional growth.
    • Physicians must understand their rights and obligations under these clauses to avoid unintentional breaches.
  • Legal Considerations for Both Employers and Employees:
    • Employers use these clauses to protect their business interests, patient base, and proprietary information.
    • Physicians should assess how these clauses align with their career goals and whether they impose unreasonable restrictions.
  • State Laws and Regulations:
    • The enforceability of secondary employment clauses can vary based on state laws. Some states have stricter regulations governing non-compete agreements and other restrictive covenants.
    • Physicians should be aware of the legal context in their specific state, as it can significantly affect the validity and enforceability of these clauses.
  • Negotiating Clause Terms:
    • Physicians have the opportunity to negotiate the terms of secondary employment clauses during the contract discussion phase.
    • Negotiations should aim for terms that are reasonable and do not unduly restrict the physician’s ability to pursue other professional opportunities.
  • Seeking Legal Counsel:
    • Given the complexities and potential legal ramifications, consulting with a healthcare attorney experienced in physician contracts is advisable.
    • Legal experts can provide valuable insights into the implications of these clauses and assist in negotiating fair and equitable terms.

The legal implications of secondary employment clauses in physician contracts are significant and multifaceted. These clauses require a deep understanding of contractual restrictions, state laws, and the balance between protecting employer interests and preserving physician rights. Physicians should approach these clauses with diligence, seeking legal advice and negotiating terms that align with their professional aspirations and legal protections.

For further understanding of legal aspects, resources from the Physician’s Advocacy Institute can be invaluable. Additionally, Contract Review Tips from The Doctors Company offer practical advice for navigating these agreements.

In this first part of the article, we have explored the basics of secondary employment clauses in physician contracts, including their key components and legal implications. Understanding these clauses is crucial for physicians to ensure they comply with their primary employment terms while exploring additional career opportunities.

Navigating Secondary Employment Clauses

Clause 1: Non-Compete Agreements

In the context of physician employment contracts, non-compete agreements are critical clauses that can significantly influence a physician’s career mobility and opportunities. Understanding the intricacies of these agreements is essential for any medical professional.

  • Defining Non-Compete Agreements:
    • Non-compete agreements are clauses in employment contracts that restrict a physician’s ability to practice within a certain geographic area or with certain types of employers for a specified period after leaving their current job.
    • The primary intent is to protect the employer’s business interests, such as patient base and proprietary information.
  • Scope and Duration of Non-Compete Clauses:
    • These clauses typically define a radius around the employer’s location and a time frame, often ranging from one to three years, during which the restrictions apply.
    • The scope and duration can vary greatly depending on the employer and the region’s legal standards.
  • Impact on Physicians’ Career Choices:
    • Non-compete agreements can limit physicians’ ability to join competing practices or start their own practice in the same area after leaving their current job.
    • Understanding these restrictions is crucial for physicians planning their career progression and considering future employment opportunities.
  • Legal Considerations and Variability:
    • The enforceability of non-compete clauses varies by state, with some states having stricter regulations than others.
    • Physicians should be aware of the legal context in their specific state and how it affects the validity of non-compete agreements.
  • Negotiating Non-Compete Clauses:
    • Physicians have the opportunity to negotiate the terms of non-compete clauses during the contract discussion phase.
    • It’s important to seek terms that are reasonable in scope and duration and consider the potential impact on future employment options.
  • Seeking Legal Advice:
    • Due to the complex nature of non-compete agreements, seeking legal advice from a professional experienced in healthcare law is highly recommended.
    • A legal expert can provide guidance on the enforceability of the clause and assist in negotiating fair and reasonable terms.

Non-compete agreements are a significant aspect of physician employment contracts, with profound implications for a physician’s career trajectory. These clauses require careful examination and understanding due to their potential to restrict future employment opportunities. Physicians should approach these agreements with a strategic mindset, considering legal advice and negotiation to ensure that the terms are fair and conducive to their long-term career goals.

Clause 2: Moonlighting and Outside Activities

In physician employment contracts, the clause concerning moonlighting and outside activities is pivotal. This clause outlines the terms under which physicians can engage in professional activities outside their primary employment.

  • Understanding Moonlighting Clauses:
    • Moonlighting clauses specify conditions for secondary employment, often focusing on ensuring that such activities do not conflict with the physician’s primary job responsibilities.
    • These clauses typically require physicians to obtain prior approval from their primary employer before engaging in outside work, especially if it’s within the same medical field.
  • Restrictions and Permissions:
    • The clause may restrict the type of work a physician can undertake, such as prohibiting employment with direct competitors or within a certain geographic radius.
    • Permissions, if granted, are often contingent on the assurance that the secondary employment will not interfere with the physician’s primary job duties or compromise patient care.
  • Balancing Primary and Secondary Employment:
    • Physicians must carefully balance their time and commitments to ensure that their secondary employment does not negatively impact their primary job performance.
    • It’s crucial to maintain transparency with the primary employer regarding any outside work to avoid potential conflicts of interest or breaches of contract.
  • Legal and Ethical Considerations:
    • Physicians should consider the legal implications of moonlighting, including how it aligns with state laws and medical board regulations.
    • Ethical considerations, such as patient confidentiality and maintaining professional standards in all work environments, are also paramount.
  • Negotiating Moonlighting Clauses:
    • Physicians have the opportunity to negotiate these clauses during the contract discussion phase.
    • It’s advisable to seek clarity on what constitutes permissible outside activities and to establish clear boundaries that protect both the physician’s interests and those of the primary employer.

In summary, the moonlighting and outside activities clause in physician contracts is a critical element that requires careful consideration. Physicians looking to engage in secondary employment must understand the restrictions and permissions outlined in their contracts. Balancing these activities with primary job responsibilities, while adhering to legal and ethical standards, is essential.

Effective negotiation and clear communication with the primary employer are key to successfully navigating this clause, ensuring that physicians can pursue additional professional opportunities without compromising their primary employment.

FAQs Section

What are secondary employment clauses in physician contracts?

Secondary employment clauses are terms in physician contracts that govern the conditions under which physicians can engage in employment outside their primary job.

How do non-compete agreements affect secondary employment?

Non-compete agreements restrict physicians from working with competing healthcare providers, usually within a specific geographic area and time frame, impacting their ability to take on certain secondary employment opportunities.

What is a moonlighting clause in a physician contract?

A moonlighting clause specifies the conditions under which a physician can engage in medical practice outside their primary employment, often requiring prior approval and setting limits on the type and amount of outside work.

Can physicians negotiate the terms of secondary employment clauses?

Yes, physicians can negotiate these clauses, but the extent of negotiation may vary based on the employer’s policies and the physician’s leverage.

What should physicians consider before agreeing to secondary employment clauses?

Physicians should consider the scope, duration, and restrictions of these clauses, how they align with career goals, and seek legal advice if necessary.


In the complex landscape of physician employment, secondary employment clauses play a pivotal role. These clauses, particularly non-compete agreements and moonlighting restrictions, are crucial components of physician contracts, dictating the terms under which physicians can pursue employment opportunities outside their primary job. Understanding these clauses is essential for physicians to navigate their career paths effectively and avoid potential legal conflicts.

The article delves into the intricacies of these clauses, highlighting their importance, implications, and the need for careful consideration and negotiation. Physicians are advised to thoroughly review and understand these clauses, seek legal counsel if necessary, and maintain open communication with their primary employer regarding any secondary employment plans. By adeptly navigating these clauses, physicians can balance their career aspirations with contractual obligations, ensuring a harmonious and successful professional journey.

Scroll to Top