In a previous blog post, we explained what contracts were, why business owners should utilize them, and why they are something to embrace instead of being feared. Although we will stick with the topic of contracts, we will approach them from a new perspective, namely that of the employees. Due to the nuances of contractual language, it can be difficult to determine the ramifications of signing it. There are several key areas to consider.
- Terms and conditions
- Compensation and benefits
- Restrictive clauses
- Termination and severance
- Rules surrounding IP and confidentiality
- Dispute resolution procedures
Anyone in any field should strongly consider having the contract reviewed by an attorney who understands business and employment law. After reading it, they are in a position to identify any potential issues and ensure that your rights and interests are protected.
What Should Doctors Be Aware Of?
In addition to what we listed above, doctors should know several key things when asked to sign a physician employment contract. The medical field is a highly regulated and monitored industry, and physicians must have a firm command over federal laws such as Stark and anti-kickback laws. Additionally, state laws could just as quickly lead to criminal charges and civil liability. If you are a physician, don't make the mistake of signing any agreement until you have had an experienced attorney analyze it through the lens of regulatory compliance. In other words, don't commit to something that stands in opposition to state and federal laws.
In most circumstances, the employer who drafts a contract that isn't in line with specific laws and regulations isn't trying to do anything malicious. They either don't understand the legal ramifications or are unaware of them. The consequences remain the same. However, this next component is likely more intentional. Those who make the contract make the contract. When an employer creates a contract, several provisions may favor them over you. Your attorney can negotiate to ensure there are bilateral provisions as opposed to unilateral ones.
Regarding provisions, it is particularly important to consider how exposed you are regarding your liability. For example, be aware of a contract that omits language that limits your implied warranties. Implied warranties are things that are automatically provided by law. Even if it is not explicitly stated, the law assumes they are present in the contract. They exist for your protection, and you want to know they are present. Additionally, your attorney can work with you so that you are not accepting unlimited liability by signing the contract.
Don't Sign a Contract Alone
In addition to everything we have discussed, you must understand how to identify restrictive covenants, secure the right to review medical records, and negotiate termination clauses. By taking the appropriate steps now, you can protect your interests over the long term. Contact the attorneys at Hamilton Law, PLC, and allow us to review a contract before you commit to it. Schedule your free consultation with us today.