Doctors, like other professionals, are often asked to sign non-compete agreements by their practices, hospitals, and HMOs. However, whether or not these agreements “stick” will often depend on individual circumstances, and courts sometimes wind up penalizing parties that overreach.
A good example is a recent Nevada court case, in which a group of cardiologists employed by the Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno obtained a $4.2 million settlement, a sum that includes nearly a million dollars' worth of legal fees the doctors had accumulated. The doctors claim that the non-compete agreements they were required to sign were illegal, because the Renown clinic obtained an unfair competitive advantage after it bought two other cardiology clinics in the Reno area. For all intents and purposes, a cardiologist who left Renown would have to seek employment elsewhere in Nevada—meaning, pretty much, Las Vegas—which the court decided was an unfair burden.
In addition to releasing the cardiologists from their non-compete clauses, Renown was ordered to pay over $500,000 to the Nevada Attorney General's Office in order to cover the costs of the state's investigation. The company also agreed to conduct an investigation of its management team, presumably to keep the Nevada attorney general from prying even deeper into its trade practices.
Burdensome and abusive clauses aren’t only found in Nevada employment contracts. Are you an employee in the Dallas–Ft. Worth area who feels you have been unfairly shackled by a non-compete agreement? Contact Texas workplace law attorney Jim Zadeh today at 888-713-5418 to find out what he can do for you!