Not all employment contracts for medical professionals are ironclad. Healthcare workers may be released from these contracts under certain circumstances. First, employment contracts usually have terms that allow for their termination. These clauses usually allow an employer or employee to end their agreements for cause.
Conditions that may be cause for termination usually include the loss of an employee's professional license, refusal to perform assigned duties, certain criminal convictions, being drunk or impaired by drugs at work, inability to bill Medicare or being ineligible for malpractice insurance coverage. An employer may often terminate an employee without cause. They are required to give notice within a specific time, usually falling within 30 to 120 days.
Another way to escape a contract is to not renew it after the term is over. However, evergreen clauses mandate automatic contract renewal unless either party provides notification that they do not intend to renew within a period such as 30, 60 or 90 days before the contract expires.
If a medical professional does not give the required notice, they may unwillingly agree to further employment. If they do not provide notice and leave, an employer may be able to sue them for breach of contract. Even without legal action, being unaware of this clause may be embarrassing or unprofessional.
Finally, it may not hurt to ask for contract release. If the employer agrees, the release should be provided in writing to the employee.
During negotiations, employers and medical professionals may have different interests. For example, employers may want longer notice period for contract termination, so they have time to recruit and hire a replacement. A 60-day period usually indicates the employer's seriousness. On the other hand, employees want a shorter time period, so they can begin work with another employer who is anxious for them to begin.
An attorney can help negotiate these agreements and obtain favorable terms. They can also help protect rights during contract disputes.