Most practices have some type of contract with associates. For the most part, these agreements work well. But sooner or later, you are likely to have an employee seek to leave before his or her contract has expired. This blog is not intended to present legal advice but rather to look at the practical implications of an associate severing an agreement.
Do you care?
In many incidences, the associate’s future with your practice may have already been in doubt. Them severing the relationship can be a blessing to all parties in that it will accelerate your efforts to replace a marginal employee with a great one.
Will this cause damage to your operations?
Every member has a place on your team, but will you be able to replace their skill set in a reasonable amount of time with an associate who will have a similar compensation package?
Did your company breach the agreement in any way?
It is almost impossible to write an agreement that could not be interpreted in different ways. That’s why it is essential to check in with key employees throughout their contracted period to be sure that they are happy in their work. The easiest time to fix a contract dispute is before it becomes an issue.
Are they going to work with a direct competitor in your market?
This is a point of concern and one that will make legal action more compelling.
What are the costs of pursuing a legal remedy, and does the associate have the means to satisfy any judgment against them?
Legal proceedings can be costly. A good attorney can help you lay out the cost and options as well as look at the agreement to define if your practice may have done something to violate the contract.
As a general rule, the mere presence of a contract is usually enough to avoid the issue of an associate breaching it. This is part of the value of a contract. Realistically, once an associate has violated the agreement, it will be difficult to normalize the relationship. The best you can hope for is to minimize the damage. It is essential to involve legal counsel early in the dispute even if you don’t intend to pursue an action to get your side of the story recorded in an accurate and timely manner.
If you find yourself in a position where you need to find a new associate quickly, contact ETS. We talk to exceptional candidates every day, and we may have an excellent fit for your practice in our pipeline.
May 13, 2021
You’ve interviewed. You’ve negotiated. You’re ready to sign. Almost. There are still a few details to confirm. The first, and perhaps most obvious, step you should ...
Apr 20, 2021
You’ve been offered a contract. In many cases, the initial contract is a standard document with some wiggle room. Remember, you’ll have to live with the conditions of this...
Apr 13, 2021
You’re in discussions with an employer for a position that looks like a great fit, and it looks like you’ll be offered a contract. However, one of the most critical aspe...
Sep 23, 2020
In 2020, landing a position with a Pediatric practice can be a challenge, particularly in the wake of a worldwide pandemic. In recent months, however, we've seen a significant...
May 13, 2020
A manila envelope appears on your desk with your new contract. It’s all there in black and white—the terms, salary, perks, and expectations. While an employment contrac...
Dec 11, 2019
Not all salaries are created equal. All too often, we find that job seekers will overlook a potentially rewarding opportunity solely because the base salary offered is lower t...
Aug 15, 2019
Maybe the contract renewal has been with the associate for a while and you’re hearing radio silence. Maybe they’ve told you they have no interest in renewing. Either way, ...
Jun 3, 2019
There comes a time in every office when taking on an additional partner makes good business sense. Partners, unlike associates, are part owners of a practice. Practice owners ...