Finally finished residency! Three years of working overtime and making absolutely nothing, well worth it though. I’m ready for what’s ahead. I worked so hard and can’t wait to help others. I’m ready for my new life as a doctor. I have a few offers from different cities here in Central Florida. I’m most interested in a private practice in Tampa.
I contacted an attorney to review my contract. The fee to review my contract included the entire contract review, a one pager and the meeting to discuss it. I briefly went through the contract and didn’t find the need to go through with the appointment, so I kindly called and cancelled. They called me several time but I still felt strong in not needing an attorney or paying for that fee to have it reviewed. They are offering me a relocation fee and sign on bonus. I just want to sign the contract and start. I went with my gut and executed the contract without an attorney. I was able to get myself a new car and rented an apartment near work.
I’ve completed a few months at Medical Center of Tampa FL, and I’m just not adjusting well in this place. I went home that evening and started to go through the offers I received which were all in Central Florida. There’s one that isn’t too far from where I’m currently practicing. I contacted them the next morning. They quickly sent me an updated offer letter. I scheduled my interview for the next day. The offer letter and contract were ready for my review as soon as I walked in. The lady seemed nice and I didn’t want to take too much of her time so we went through my credentials quickly and moved on to the contract and offer letter. It was pretty simple, only a few pages. I went ahead and signed the contract. How bad can it be, it was only a few pages.
Now I have to give my two weeks’ notice at my current job. I’ll send them an email tonight. The next day at work, as I went through my emails I noticed an email from an attorney. The email read:
Dear Dr. Lou,
We are in receipt of your notice and want to let you know that you are in violation of your employment agreement “Section 3 Employment Term 3.1.a: Employee shall work for said Employer for a total of 365 days before any modifications can be done to said agreement. Employee shall be responsible for sign on bonus and relocation fees if said Employee terminates said agreement”. Said relocation and bonus fee shall be due upon said employee’s last day.
You have only been at the practice for 3 months. We paid a total of $10,000 for you to relocate and $25,000 as a sign on bonus.
The total amount of $35,000 is due upon your last day of employment. You also didn’t properly notify your employer of your notice of termination. This notice should have come to my office not your employer as per your Employment Agreement Section 7 Notices.
Submitted for your consideration,
John Smith, Esq.
What?! $35,000, I didn’t know I had to pay that back. I was so upset, I immediately responded with:
Dear Mr. Smith,
I was not aware that I had to pay that back, they should have told me. I’m starting a new job, at JJ Medical Solutions, I just signed the contract. I used those funds to relocate and buy a car. I can’t just pay that full amount.
Can we do a payment plan?
As I started to close out my email and call it a day, Mr. Smith already responded:
Dear Dr. Lou,
They gave you a contract and ample time to have an attorney review it for you. You are liable for the payment in full upon your last day. I can talk to them and see if they can split the payment in two. Also, you mentioned in your email about working at JJ Medical Solutions, please note that you have a non-compete section in your contract. “Section 4 Non-Compete 4.1a, if said Employment Agreement terminates with or without cause said employee shall not practice within 30 miles of Central Florida” for the duration of 3 years.
JJ Medical Solutions is only 10 miles from Medical Center of Tampa FL. You cannot practice there as per your employment agreement. We will pursue legal action against you should we find out you are within said radius.
Govern yourself accordingly,
John Smith, Esq.
What!!! I can’t believe what I’m reading. How could they do this to me? I the same attorney that was going to review my contract, Mr. Jones. I provided him with a copy of the contracts I signed. He was puzzled as to why I didn’t go through with the meeting. He advised the following:
“You are now obligated to pay back that $35,000, and you cannot work in Central Florida for 3 years. As for JJ Medical Solutions, although you just signed the contract you are still bound to it. I will have to contact them to see how we can get you out of it. Dr. Lou, this is why we called you back to reschedule your appointment for the contract review. What was the reason you didn’t take the appointment”?
“I thought I knew what I was doing and I didn’t want to pay for the review. This is the biggest mistake I’ve done and I just started as s doctor”.
A stern response followed from Mr. Jones: “Yes this was a mistake and you need to learn from this. The few hundreds that you saved was not worth it. You are now going to spend thousands in legal fees”.
Here at the MediLaw Firm we stride in protecting our clients with their new contracts. Contact us to have your contract reviewed.