Doctors, Are Your Non-Compete Clauses Enforceable?

Many times, the answer is yes. An Ohio court just modified an overbroad non-compete, instead of striking it.

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Many physicians agree to non-compete clauses in their employment agreement with practices and hospitals. These non-compete clauses take many forms, but often prohibit the physician from practicing in their specialty for a certain time frame and within a certain distance of their current practice location.

The recent ruling in Ohio involved a burn surgeon who resigned and took a new position in violation of his non-compete agreement.

The agreement he signed prohibited him from working within 35 miles of the hospital for 2 years following employment. Ohio courts will enforce reasonable non-competes, similar to in Michigan.

The court held that the surgeon could work at the new hospital, but he could not (1) be a director for one year, (2) use or transmit privileged information from his previous employment, and (3) solicit or refer any patient from his previous employment for one year.

The court’s ruling reinforced that physicians who enter into non-competes should expect that it will be enforced, unless it is unreasonable.

We help our clients negotiate their contracts and understand the potential ramifications when agreeing to various provisions.

We typically do not recommend that our clients agree to non-compete clauses.

If you are entering into a contract with a non-compete provision, make sure you contact an attorney to review the contract carefully.

Non-compete agreements can force you to relocate or prohibit you from working for a period of time. Make sure you are willing to abide by the terms and that you fully understand the ramifications before agreeing to a non-compete clause.

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