After residency, most physicians are so eager to put their years of education and experience to practice, they overlook a very important step in jumpstarting their career: Employment Contract review and negotiation. Employment Contracts create a long-standing relationship between you and your employer and as such, it is important that you not enter into any employment contract without getting the advice of seasoned legal counsel.
At the Law Office of Ral Obioha, we will review your contract and let you know in plain terms what is being asked of you. We will help you understand your contract and the terms within them so you can negotiate compensation and a benefits package that’s fair for you!
Regardless, here are eight tips to keep in mind when offered an employment contract:
1. Everything is negotiable. Your first job will become a large part of your life and future career, even long after it’s over. As such, you deserve an agreement that is favorable to you.
2. Ensure that there are no blank areas in the contract before you sign. More so, ensure that every Exhibit, Addendum or Schedule referred to in the contract is completed and attached before you sign.
3. Look carefully at the termination terms in the contract. Does that give you enough time to find another job? If you commit a “breach”, does the employer give you an option (time and opportunity) to “cure” it?
4. Pay attention to the Restrictive Covenants. Some of them could leave you jobless for years. Aim to either eliminate it or limit the geographical area, practice area, or time for/during which it applies.
5. Ensure that the contract is clear that you are an employee and not an independent contractor. Any language suggesting that you are the latter, will leave you open to unnecessary liability.
6. Ensure that the contract contains every single agreement you made with the employer. Whatever is not in writing is considered inexistent.
7. Resist lay advice from colleagues about contracts they signed or more so, from any representative of the prospective employer. There is no such thing as a “Standard employment contract”. Every employment contract contains different language. Just one paragraph can make a big difference. Also, remember that the prospective employer representative works for the prospective employer and that’s where their loyalty lies!
8. Lastly, before you start work, ensure you have the final copy of your employment contract signed by BOTH you and the employer.
For residents, interns, fellows and others who are just entering the practice of medicine, we offer a discounted fixed fee for reviewing and advising you on your physician employment agreement. Depending on your availability, we will meet with you face-to-face or telephonically.
If you are a physician and have questions or concerns regarding an employment contract, we can help. Contact us or call (832) 569-1110 to schedule a consultation!