Telehealth: What May I Do Without Violating My Contract?
I Have a Signed Employment Contract but I am Interested in Exploring Telehealth as Additional Work. What Can I Do Without Violating My Contract?
Many practices are using telemedicine to care for their patients in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Telemedicine visits are replacing in-person appointments in several cases. As a result, some of our physician clients who are working remotely are considering their options. Our clients are also asking about moonlighting in telehealth for someone other than their employers or simply leaving their current situation and switching to full-time positions in telehealth. Below are some common questions we receive from our physician clients regarding this issue.
Q: While I am working from home or even if I am not, can I provide telemedicine services for a different practice even though I have a signed contract with my current employer?
A: Generally, employment agreements include exclusivity provisions, which restrict employees from working for any other employer during the term of the contract. Most agreements also include provisions stating the employee is restricted from outside employment unless they obtain the prior written consent of their employer.
Even though these provisions restrict your ability to work for a different practice, you may ask your employer for permission to work for another employer. Please ensure that any permission you receive to work elsewhere is documented in writing. Also, if you enter into a new agreement with a different practice, you must ensure the new agreement does not include exclusivity language and look closely at the termination provisions and post termination provisions. As an example, a restrictive covenant in a telemedicine agreement should be carefully reviewed and perhaps should not even be part of a telemedicine services agreement for several legal reasons.
Q: Can I terminate my current Agreement now in order to be able to perform telemedicine services for a different practice? It looks more attractive to me as a career move.
A: The answer to this question varies depending on the specific language in your current Agreement. If your contract has an early termination provision, you may be able to terminate the contract by providing notice as outlined in your Agreement. However, note that even if you terminate the Agreement early, you should be prepared to work during the notice period unless you are not allowed to work. Also, you may be bound by restrictive covenants (non-compete provisions and other covenants) in your Agreement, which may be enforced by the employer. You should seek legal advice before making this type of move.
The above are just two examples of the types of questions we have received during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any additional questions or need assistance, please Contact Us if we may be of assistance.
Articles distributed by Malecki & Brooks Law Group, LLC are advertisements and summaries for general information and discussion purposes only. They are not full analyses of the matters presented, legal, or otherwise, and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
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