Employment Contracts and Disputes for Small Business Owners in Texas
Serving Clients in the Dallas and Fort Worth Texas Metroplex
Employment agreements between physicians or dentists and their employers often have special aspects that require thoughtful negotiation and drafting. A well-crafted employment agreement will help the employer and the medical professional define the responsibilities, compensation, benefits, obligations, and expectations between them during and after the employment relationship. Physicians and dentists, unlike other professionals, are often asked to enter into term contracts that bind them to the employer for a particular term (e.g. 1 to 5 years at a time), and often include strict post-employment restrictions that impact career mobility.
Employment agreement terms that are of particular concern for physicians and dentists include:
- Duties and responsibilities (including on-call duties and expectations)
- Equipment and staff resources
- Compensation and benefits
- Partnership and/or equity stake in practice
- Malpractice coverage (including tail and/or nose coverage)
- Professional dues and continuing medical education
- Hospital affiliations and credentialing
- Licensing requirements
- Collateral professional activities and practices
- Non-competition and non-solicitation restrictions
With or without an employment or partnership agreement, problems and disputes may arise during the employment relationship such as:
- Pressure to cover up misconduct, malfeasance, or fraud
- Reorganization and mergers
- Compensation issues
- Failure to provide equipment and resources
- Disputes between partners or with affiliated hospital or medical facility
- Internal politics
When the employment or contractual relationship comes to an end, physicians and dentists often have special interests that require careful negotiation with the employer. Such issues may include HIPAA and confidential information concerns, patient notification, non-competition restrictions, and professional liability tail insurance coverage. In such situations, the parties often have competing needs and interests, such as the employer’s interests in continuing its business/practice and avoiding major financial commitments versus the individual’s interests in career mobility, financial security, and professionalism.
As a former dentist and your attorney, I will work closely with the physician and dentist clients to help them identify their particular separation concerns and issues, to help guide them through negotiations on their own behalf, or to negotiate on their behalf – keeping in mind that a commitment to providing quality patient care is in the best interest of the client.
In general, the negotiation of a separation agreement for a physician or dentist should seek to preserve and protect economic interests while also addressing issues that have arisen during the employment relationship that may cause career or reputational harm. For example, if a non-compete, non-solicitation, or other restrictive covenant is problematic, I can explore whether the negotiations should include a request for a waiver, narrowing, or other modification of such post-employment restrictions. Other separation issues that are commonly considered include equity buy-out or repurchase, non-disparagement and non-reemployment clauses, references or notices to credentialing authorities, and mutual releases.
With my unique background, I have the skill and experience to represent physicians and dentists with respect to their particular employment needs and interests. I can assist medical professionals in negotiating and drafting employment agreements, advising and counseling during the employment relationship, negotiating and drafting severance agreements, advising and negotiating post-employment restrictions and resolving and litigating disputes.
If you are a physician or dentist who needs assistance with an employment or partnership agreement, an employment problem or dispute, or issues relating to separation, contact The Law Offices of Namrita Notani today to discuss your options.