The last thing you’re probably thinking about when you’re about to sign an employment agreement is how your relationship with your employer might end. Yet these days most employment agreements address not only the terms of employment such as salary, duties and benefits, but also the reasons an employer might terminate you and what your obligations are after termination. Always pay close attention to what you are signing. The clause most heavily negotiated in most employment agreements is the covenant not to compete. However, there are two other clauses that often accompany covenants not to compete to which you should also pay attention: the non-solicitation clause and the non-disparagement clause.
- Non-solicitation Clause
This clause typically restricts you from “soliciting” either your employer’s patients or your employer’s employees. These provisions are a means by which an employer protects its legitimate business interests, the logic being that you were only introduced to these patients or employees by virtue of your employment.
- Non-disparagement Clause
Many employers want to control the end of their relationship with an employee not only by specifying the bases upon which the employer may terminate employment, but by regulating the employee’s behavior after termination. Employers are often concerned about what the employee will say about the employer once he departs from the practice—hence the inclusion of non-disparagement clauses in a physician’s employment agreement.
In times past, non-solicitation and non-disparagement clauses were more likely to appear in severance agreements than in employment agreements. However, they, along with covenants not to compete, are now a routine part of physician employment agreements. Since your prospective employer is thinking of the end of your relationship at the beginning of your relationship, it makes sense for you to do the same and to negotiate these provisions in your favor.
If you ever find yourself in any kind of legal issues please contact Illinois Physician Defense Attorney James Goldberg at 312-735 -1185 or visit his website goldberglicensing.com for more information.