Q: Physician Noncompete agreements: How enforceable are they? What are the consequences for breaking them?
I signed a noncompete that says I can’t work for 2.5 years and 15mi from the office location in Nassau county. I want to work for another group.
A: About 5 years ago I conferenced with a physician who had worked for an organization for approximately 25 years. The physician was very highly compensated. This physician appeared "burned-out" and simply wanted a change of pace. The unfortunate part was that the employer had invested substantial resources in this physician. And the trade secrets and confidential information possessed by the physician could do true harm to the employer were the physician to resign and attempt to compete. The geographic area for this particular professional was much larger than 15 miles. But the contacts developed, the expertise of the physician, and today's more virtual than ever practice parameters likely prevented the physician from leaving, barring an exceptionally long distance move or a late practice focus / specialty career change. So, even though non-competition agreements may, generally be frowned upon, don't think that today's employers of highly compensated employees will not attempt an injunction. Call employment lawyers. Have them review your agreement and obtain details from you about what you do and how you do it before potentially facing no employment with current or future employers concurrently. It happens.
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