Dental Contract Lawyers in Maryland and DC
Kamkari Law’s dental contract lawyers in Maryland and DC have represented both employers (dental practices) and employees (dental associates) in negotiating and drafting dental associate employment agreements, which provides us with a broader perspective on how to draft dental associate employment agreements that reasonably protect both parties, but more importantly, they are drafted with an eye to create a lasting professional relationship between the parties.
Restrictive Covenants in Dental Associate Employment Agreements
Dental associate employment contracts should be properly negotiated and worded so that on one hand the employer (the dental practice) is properly protected against undue competition and/or solicitation of dental practice’s existing patients. On the other hand, the Restrictive Covenants such as a non-compete clause should not unreasonably hinder and limit the dental associate’s professional future. In my experience as a dental contract lawyer, an associate employment agreement that create an undue leverage for one side are a recipe for failed professional relationship.
An unreasonably expansive Restrictive Covenants could put the dental associate “in the box” due to the lack of opportunities that the dental associate could pursue once the employer-employee relationship is severed, or if the dental associate decides to open their own practice or become a partner at another practice.
The employer usually has an interest in keeping their dental associates, however, doing so by exercising undue leverage over the dental associate may have the very effect that dental practices try to avoid, namely, losing their associate. In an employer-employee setting, we recommend that both parties negotiate with an eye toward working together for years to come, and perhaps a better way to motivate your dental associates is to provide incentives that will also help your practice to grow.
Incentives in dental associate employment agreements to keep your talented employees
As an incentive, our dental contract lawyers in Maryland and DC recommend a provision that would provide an option to buy a percentage of the stocks or membership in the dental practice after the employee has worked with the employee for a number of years. Your dental associate is much more likely to feel that they have skin in the game, and should therefore be much more motivated to work and keep her/his employment knowing that they have the opportunity to become a stakeholder in the dental practice.
It will also work well for the dental associate who knows that after years of hard work they will be rewarded by becoming a part-owner in the dental practice. This will further provide both parties to build on their working relationship and perhaps expand to other locations in the future.
Notice of termination in dental associate employment agreements
Another subject that should be properly dealt with in dental associate employment agreements is the termination notice and the length of required notice for each party to notify the other one that they intend to terminate the employment. The termination notice section of a dental associate employment agreement should be broken down into 2 sections: 1) Termination for cause, and 2) Termination without cause.
If there is just and proper cause to terminate an employee for misconduct, the employer should have every right to terminate the employment a will, without notice. However, I see a lot of employment agreements between dentists and dental practices that provide for at will termination, without cause, for the employer, but it requires the dental associate to provide a ninety (90) day or even longer notice to employer before they could terminate their employment.
These associate employment agreements are usually signed by an employee dentist who did not seek legal representation before signing her or his employment contract. It is easy to sign a contract but what matters is what is in it. Not to mention that in the legal field one “word of art” may give a sentence or a clause a meaning completely different than what a reader who is not an attorney may understand.
The cost of retaining an experienced dental contract lawyer to review your contract could be insignificant compared to how much it could cost you by putting your future or your practice’s future at risk. Our dental contract lawyers in Maryland and DC are well experienced in negotiating and drafting these agreements both on behalf of the dental practices and dental associates.
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Kamkari Law – Healthcare Attorney
Dental Contract Lawyers in Maryland and DC