When signing an employment contract, you must understand the termination laws so you do not agree to things that can harm you later. If you end up being terminated from a job unfairly, it can be quite a fight to get justice. Thus, Agreeing to Unfair Termination Rules in a contract is vital to avoiding future conflict.
What is Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination laws refer to getting fired from a job for an illegal reason. It could be an employer who fires the employee because that person was complaining about safety concerns or discrimination, or it could be an employer who fires an employee because the employee was exercising a legal right. If an employer discriminates against an employee and fires him or her because of disability, race, color, religion, or the like, this is wrongful termination. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website details wrongful termination laws.
Wrongful Termination Law
If someone is wrongfully terminated, they can file a lawsuit. Wrongful termination laws allow for damages in some cases. But first, they would need to win the suit. If there is a contract that delineates the law about unfair dismissal, this can only help the case. Information about these laws can be found on the American Bar Association website.
Breach of Contract Law
It depends on the contact as to whether damages would be available. The contract can also outline when a person can pursue damages in a case. Again, having a contract that outlines all the laws of wrongful dismissal will benefit you if you ever run into this situation with a job. You want a contract to be specific so that you are well-protected against anything that ends in your dismissal.
How Do I Get Out of a Physician Contract?
After signing a physician contract, there may be a situation that requires you to get out of your contract, so many ask how do I get out of a physician contract? It could be because of difficulties within the job itself, with the employer, or having unavoidable personal problems. No matter the reason, it is essential for a physician to understand the legalities of terminating employment and how that fits in with his or her signed contract.
Notice of Being Fired That is not Wrongful
Standard contracts have clauses that require a 90-day notice from either the physician or his employer when one or the other wants to end the contract. Sometimes the notice period is 180 days, but the time frame seldom exceeds that. It will occur when it is difficult to fill the position. However, regardless of the period delineated on the contract, sometimes a physician needs to terminate early.
When a doctor is going to leave a position before the notice period ends, the employer may be understanding and work out an agreeable plan, mainly when it is a family emergency or the like. However, if the doctor wants to leave early because of a better job offer, this can create problems in the exiting. It could be considered a breach of contract.
Need of Right to Terminate Job Clause
Besides a notice period in a contract, it should have a Right to Terminate clause. The term for this is termination for cause and means that one or the other (employee or employer) did not uphold the contract terms. To cover this fully, you must ensure you have all the correct wording in a contract. An attorney can help with a contract review to ensure it is appropriately included.
How to Avoid Problems with Discrimination and Defamation
The best way to avoid problems with any wrongful termination of a contract is to ensure a contract is reviewed with this in mind before signing. The physician himself can review it, but it is best to have a contract attorney look it over and fix any points that aren’t clear or negotiate changes in the contract so it is clear and aboveboard.
There are several vital elements to look for in a physician contract. A physician contract covers many areas, many of which reflect compensation. But there are other concepts a contract needs to cover. The contract needs to specify what the employer wishes, but it also needs to reflect your rights and your interests.
What Should I Look for in a Physician Contract?
We can’t cover every element in a physician contract here, but we want to cover the most critical points if possible. So, someone asks what one should look for in a physician contract. Here are some vital elements that you should look for in a physician contract.
- Guarantee of Income – an income guarantee ensures a physician will earn a certain amount each month after expenses. The period that this is done extends for one or two years. If a physician makes less than the guaranteed income from the hospital, the hospital will make up the difference. If the physician makes more, he keeps it at the end of the guarantee period. He would owe the hospital the difference if he earned less at the end of the period. However, many of the income guarantees come with a forgiveness clause. Details should be reviewed in any contract.
- Benefits – benefits should be written out clearly in any contract. They usually include malpractice and health insurance. There can be other benefits offered when the salary is less than competitive.
- Hours Worked – the employer’s requirement may differ from the physician’s idea of how many hours he wants to work or is expected to work. It has to be looked over in any contract and negotiated as needed.
- Vacation Time – this should be specified in any physician’s contract and is often a negotiated point.
Other Points a Lawyer Suggests to Cover in a Physician Contract
- Forgiveness of Educational Loans – at times, the contract may specify that the employer will pay the medical education loans of the physician. It is a crucial point to look at in the contract.
- Partnership – especially for high-in-demand specialties, a contract should contain a point about the path to collaboration. It needs to be reviewed to ensure it is spelled out.
- Termination – the contract should contain a clause about termination – the two types of provision being covered (with cause, without cause).
Since a physician contract is such an important document, it must be reviewed by competent eyes. A contract attorney has the expertise and experience to do a thorough review.
Failing to Hire a Contract Lawyer
Failing to hire a contract lawyer with specific knowledge of physician employment agreements can result in problems. When you hire an experienced attorney, you will avoid many pitfalls that can have long-lasting effects on your professional and personal life.
Hiring entities are moving towards taking employment contracts and standardizing them, trying to simplify matters. However, there is still an opening to negotiate contract terms. It would help if you did this, as you want the contract to cover the important points and not be open to interpretation. It is one reason a contract lawyer is so essential in the review process of employment agreements. Unfair or ambiguous points of a contract can be addressed and handled.
Possible Pitfalls to Watch For
A very important point to watch is the contract language. It can be vague or favorable to the employer and not the employee. It can appear anywhere but is particularly difficult regarding the physician’s schedule and duties. When you see the words “… will be determined by the practice…” it is time to be wary.
Bonuses and compensation based on productivity are other areas to review carefully. Any payment of bonus and incentives should be paid through the time of termination rather than a specific date. The wording here is crucial. The benefits start date also should be carefully reviewed, or the physician could get stuck paying COBRA premiums himself until the start date in the contract of the new employer.
Restrictive non-compete clauses must be reviewed so it doesn’t keep a physician from working for other specific competitors. These clauses also should be reviewed so the doctor won’t be restricted from areas near where he now lives.
Why Hire a Contract Lawyer?
A contract lawyer will be able to effectively review a contract, making sure anything vague or which is an overreach is modified and made clear and reasonable. All the contract terms need reasonable boundaries, and a contract attorney can ensure this occurs.
Physician Contract Attorney
It can be highly beneficial to have an attorney review your contract and help with negotiating points of the contract. You want the terminology in the contract to protect you on your job. You want to ensure no trick wording would harm you if you were fired illegally. It is best to rely on a professional to cover all bases.
We are a dedicated team of legal professionals specializing in physician contracts at Physician Contract Attorney. With years of experience in the healthcare industry, we deeply understand the challenges faced by physicians when navigating complex employment contracts. Our mission is to ensure that our clients are protected and well-represented. We focus on providing sound legal advice tailored to your unique needs, empowering you to negotiate your contract with confidence. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please reach out to us today.