Has Your Career Been Affected by a Noncompete Clause?

January 06, 2021

Noncompete clauses are a standard feature in many physicians' employment contracts. Employers typically include these clauses because they want to avoid having patients leave their hospital or practice when a doctor takes another job.

A survey of nearly 2000 primary care physicians in five states found that about half of office-based physicians and 37% of physicians employed at hospitals or freestanding care centers were bound by such agreements.

However, even when a noncompete clause is present, new rulings have limited the employer's ability to enforce those clauses. In 2019, Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law that voids any noncompete agreements between specialists and employers who contract with all physicians of that specialty in a particular county. These restrictive covenants remain unenforceable for 3 years. In Washington State, a bill to limit the enforceability of such covenants was signed into law.

Have you ever dealt with a noncompete clause in your work as a physician, and has it affected your career decisions or mobility? Tell us about your experiences.

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