In the complex health care environment, healthcare professionals are faced with numerous legal issues. With over 20 years of experience representing physicians and other healthcare professionals, the employment lawyers at Davidson & Kitzmann have developed a deep expertise in effectively navigating through the legal issues often faced by healthcare professionals.
Physician ContractsHealthcare contracts present a very important and unique body of financial, job security, and lifestyle issues. You should have an attorney who knows the issues working in your corner.
Being certain that compensation is fair and protected, keeping an eye on non-competition clauses, and making it hard to fire a client but easy for a client to leave his or her employment, are all parts of our job. But, our concerns are broader than that.
For example, many young healthcare professionals just finishing their training are especially concerned with lifestyle issues. In addition to the obvious worries about unworkable call obligations, weekend and nighttime hours, and so on, we will look at other matters as well. For a young female physician, for example, weighing competing offers, one from a teaching hospital and one from a small private practice, we will ask her about her family planning for the next few years. Why? Because the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) requires employers to give employees up to 12 weeks of maternity leave, but only if the employer has more than 50 employees. So, in that example, if the physician reveals to us that she intends to start a family soon, we would advise her that the teaching hospital has the edge (because it is subject to the FMLA while the small private practice is not). Then, if she prefers the smaller private practice for other reasons, we make a point of talking with her about negotiating specifically for maternity leave rights in her contract with that practice.
Non-Competition AgreementsA non-competition agreement (“non-compete”) is a contract in which you promise not to compete with your employer after you leave your job. Each non-competition agreement (or clause) is written differently. Some are narrow and reasonable; others are very broad and incredibly damaging to a career. Some have loopholes; others have hidden risks that can ruin your ability to earn a livelihood for your family.
You should always seek advice from a lawyer before signing any non-compete or upon receiving any threat by a former employer that they intend to take action against you for supposedly violate some kind of restrictive contract you already have signed. You need advice on your best options, your legal risks, and how to plan for your future.
Different states handle non-competes differently. Non-competes are often enforced in Virginia, but there sometimes are hidden or subtle ways to invalidate them. By comparison, another state's law might be more lenient. Knowing how different states handle non-competes, and knowing how (if possible) to cause a judge to use one state’s laws instead of another state’s laws, can make all the difference in a case.
Severance and Separation AgreementsWhen people lose their jobs, sometimes their employers offer some severance in exchange for signing a piece of paper (a “severance agreement” or “separation agreement”). Commonly, the agreement requires the employee to release any and all claims you have against the employer. This is a very serious thing.
Still, signing this document sometimes is exactly what you should do. However, you may not know what you are giving up by signing it. Employers can sneak all kinds of terms into the agreement that can make it much harder to get another job or get your career back on track. These agreements can even make it so that you will not get paid for bonuses you already have earned, business expenses you already have incurred, and so on. You could inadvertently cut off your rights to benefits. And there are also terms which you may want in the agreement, for which you should negotiate.
If you are leaving a position, you should have an attorney that will look out for your best interest and make sure that you leave on terms that are the best for your family, your career, and your future.
Medical Board Disciplinary ProceedingsWe have counseled and represented hundreds of healthcare professionals who have come under investigation by a licensing board. This experience has given us a broad range of knowledge of the regulations and laws that apply to healthcare professionals and the investigative process. With this knowledge, we can provide our clients with advice and counsel and help them protect their license and reputation.
Contact UsTo schedule a consultation, please call us at (434) 972-9600 or contact us using the form below.
Davidson and Kitzmann, PLC
211 E High Street
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Tel: (434) 972-9600
Fax: (434) 220-0011
We are located in Charlottesville, but our lawyers handle cases in Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Greene County, Fluvanna County, Louisa County, Nelson County, Madison County, Orange County, Roanoke, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta County, and across Virginia.