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Restrictive area covenant in Urgent Care

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Hey folks, I was wondering what experiences you guys have with Urgent Care restrictive covenants. I'm looking to sign a contract at a new job, but they are demanding not only a 10 mile radius, one-year covenant, but are also demanding I certify, now, that "I vouch that this will not pose a hardship later."

Firstly, that 10 mile radius in my area is a bit much, in my opinion. I'm in a fairly dense area outlying a major city, and a 10 mile radius is literally 314 square miles...An area not only including a dozen other urgent care clinics that I would be then locked out of, but also one so busy that 10 miles actually means 30 minutes of driving...not exactly local competition. This seems to me to be just too wide an area.

And that second clause about "guarantee no hardship" seems like a trap so that they could sue my butt off, if I ever break it, even if it truly is a hardship.

What do you all think, specifically about that radius for a busy area, in Urgent Care, where I'm not exactly going to steal their patient base away even if I work down the road, and as well, that second "trap" clause?

Thanks all.

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The radius seems big for a major metro area like you describe. The "no hardship" clause sounds like a legal trick to make sure you can't later claim the covenant was too restrictive and creates a personal hardship...a legal means of trying to escape the covenant for you.

I think restrictive covenants suck in general but I understand them in certain kinds of practices. In a UC you don't develop a panel and a patient load that comes to see you so I don't get the point at all.

Personally I'd either ask to have the covenant removed or at the very least water it way way down. 3 miles, 6 months, no hardship clause.

Edited by sas5814
spelling, fat fingers
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Consult an employment lawyer.  I wouldn't sign any such thing, but as has been pointed out to me, my lifestyle affords me more freedom to reject nonsense employment conditions than most.  Frankly, I doubt any court would find that you could, in advance, agree that something would not pose a hardship *in the future*, but it would likely cost a lot to get that adjudicated should the need arise.

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You know, the more I think about this, the more it bugs me.  Urgent care has no expectation of ongoing patient relationship, unlike, say, family medicine, pediatrics, or women's health.  If there are three tiers of medicine, I'd put primary care at the top for expectations of personal relationships where patients might want to follow the providers from place to place, ED/UC in the bottom tier, and pretty much every other specialty in the middle.  (Well, corrections is a special case...)

All this to say, the economic harm to the UC business by a provider going somewhere else is minimal: patient loyalty is the least.  That makes the pre-employment restrictions the least morally justifiable, because such covenants are supposed to be to protect the business' interest, not limit the employee's ability to find work.  This, of course, doesn't say a thing about whether the employer CAN do such a thing, but reinforces my though that an ethical employer SHOULD NOT, regardless of whether such a covenant would be legal.

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1 hour ago, rev ronin said:

You know, the more I think about this, the more it bugs me.  Urgent care has no expectation of ongoing patient relationship, unlike, say, family medicine, pediatrics, or women's health.  If there are three tiers of medicine, I'd put primary care at the top for expectations of personal relationships where patients might want to follow the providers from place to place, ED/UC in the bottom tier, and pretty much every other specialty in the middle.  (Well, corrections is a special case...)

All this to say, the economic harm to the UC business by a provider going somewhere else is minimal: patient loyalty is the least.  That makes the pre-employment restrictions the least morally justifiable, because such covenants are supposed to be to protect the business' interest, not limit the employee's ability to find work.  This, of course, doesn't say a thing about whether the employer CAN do such a thing, but reinforces my though that an ethical employer SHOULD NOT, regardless of whether such a covenant would be legal.

Yeah, it does seem totally crazy, and I appreciate your thought out response.  Just called around and it looks like employment lawyers in my area want $400 minimum just to glance at my contract! Jeez. I guess it's better than getting screwed later on of course. I could always just try to reason with the company directly, but I do want to have some facts on my side and be able to say if this is reasonable or unreasonable, in my particular region, and that I believe only a lawyer would know....

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1.). Welcome to Urgent Care.  Let me be very clear about this as I don't know where you are but....EVERY URGENT CARE IN TEXAS I HAVE WORKED AT HAS REQUIRED A NON-COMPETE CLAUSE.  Everywhere from 5 miles up to 30 LOL.  Sickening and sad.  The last contract I signed was 5 mile radius from my home clinic.  Basically they would NOT take it out and the job market in DFW is VERY tight.  If you need a job, you sign it.

2.). If you are in a place like California, you are ...umm Golden.  The California state constitution forbids non-compete clauses.

 

It sucks but you know what?  That is corporate medicine today.  Just be careful or you could lose the job if you push to hard.  Just my 2 cents.

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1 hour ago, Cideous said:

1.). Welcome to Urgent Care.  Let me be very clear about this as I don't know where you are but....EVERY URGENT CARE IN TEXAS I HAVE WORKED AT HAS REQUIRED A NON-COMPETE CLAUSE.  Everywhere from 5 miles up to 30 LOL.  Sickening and sad.  The last contract I signed was 5 mile radius from my home clinic.  Basically they would NOT take it out and the job market in DFW is VERY tight.  If you need a job, you sign it.

2.). If you are in a place like California, you are ...umm Golden.  The California state constitution forbids non-compete clauses.

 

It sucks but you know what?  That is corporate medicine today.  Just be careful or you could lose the job if you push to hard.  Just my 2 cents.

and then your promptly ignore it, knowing that historically these are not enforceable. .....

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I've seen medical corporations in Urgent care go after providers that broke their non-compete clause.  One in perticular it almost broke him just with the lawyers fees.  Google "non-compete clauses in Texas are they enforceable,,,?" and you will find that they are AND frequently upheld by Texas courts.  Everyone is different, but I have a hard time sleeping at night knowing I could receive a knock at the door and be served at any time.  They are nothing to jerk around with, at least not in this state.

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Sign the contract but only after lining out 10 miles and writing in what you are comfortable with ie 4 miles (these are typically as the crow flies). Also just line out that hardship clause  it is legal trickery 

sign it after this and then it forces them to address it.  

Once I did this in a contract and they never realized it.  Later they tried to enforce it, looked at contract, realized they were beat and it ended (was not an employment contract)

 

mass forbids noncompete for docs so I have refused to sign one on the premise I function the same. 

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So. I offered them a smaller radius, and they outright refused, and told me all the PAs in their system agree to this, and this is the standard that their administration has set.   It is, though, only binding after one year of employment...so I guess, worst come to worst, I'll quit on day 364...

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5 hours ago, quietmedic said:

So. I offered them a smaller radius, and they outright refused, and told me all the PAs in their system agree to this, and this is the standard that their administration has set.   It is, though, only binding after one year of employment...so I guess, worst come to worst, I'll quit on day 364...

lol the most unsurprising thing I will read today.  Welcome to corporate urgent care my friend.  Just wait, there are a whole litany of ridiculous policies waiting for you thanks to our non-clinical corporate overlords...

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