The Coronavirus is affecting employment in all industries, including the health care industry.
The media has already informed the public regarding the disastrous amount of unemployment and
unemployment claims. Physicians will soon be shocked by the effect the Coronavirus will have on
their employment and compensation.
I have recently received questions from some former Physician clients about their
employment concerns. Some have been terminated or forced to accept draconian amendments to
their employment contracts.
If the Employer terminates the Physician employee without proposing any alternatives, the
Physician should negotiate a severance package, which includes the restrictive covenant and
repayment of signing and moving expense provisions.
If the Employer does not terminate the Physician it may propose to amend your Employment
Agreement. The proposal will contain clauses related to the Termination and Compensation
provisions of the document. The Employer will want to strike all language in those paragraphs.
The Employer usually claims that the original employment contract will again become the
controlling document after several months. Because no one knows how long the current crisis will
last, the Amendment may expire too soon. Therefore the Employer may go bankrupt or terminate the
Physician pursuant to the Termination Clause of the original Employment Agreement.
Therefore because the Employer is proposing to significantly amend the Employment
Agreement, even if temporary, Physicians employees must consider their future practice options.
First, the Physician should insist that the Notice of termination clause in the Amendment be the same
for both parties. Second, the Physician should insist that the Compensation clause provides for
reasonable compensation during the entire crisis. Third, the Physician should insist that the Employer
remove the Restrictive Covenant or materially change it. And fourth, the Employer should agree
to forgive all signing and moving repayments that may be due upon termination.
If the employer refuses to negotiate terms of the Amendment, the Physician should seriously
consider providing the Employer with Notice of intent to terminate pursuant to terms of the
Employment Agreement. By doing so, he/she will force the Employer to negotiate the terms of a
Separation Agreement, including the Restrictive Covenant and other clauses. The Physician must
realize that it is likely that if the crisis continues, the Employer will terminate the Physician in several
months pursuant to the Amendment to the Employment Agreement.
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