Termination for cause in a physician’s employment agreement can be a delicate subject. If an employer wishes to terminate a physician’s employment agreement, they must have a legitimate reason.
The physician employment agreement should provide reasonable protection to both the employer and the physician in question if either party fails to live up to expectations. It should also have the flexibility to enable either party to get out of the deal if needed, like a “without cause” termination.
It is crucial that both the physician and employer understand what the reasons are behind a determination as well as what is written for grounds concerning termination in a physician employment agreement.
Grounds for Termination
A physician employment agreement should typically contain the grounds that allow the cause for cause termination of the employer but does not give that right to the physician. A physician can terminate an agreement in the case that the employer was at fault.
For instance, if the physician was not paid, or fails to do anything else they agreed to do. This preserves the physician’s right to terminate the agreement under circumstances that work against them while giving them protection to do so. The employer, however, will probably have a long list of grounds for terminating a physician’s employment for cause.
There are some that are quite valid, for example, the death of a physician or if they get convicted of a felony because this will greatly affect their employment. In these cases, a physician would lose their medical license, meaning they will be of no use to the employer, meaning that termination should be a right in these extreme cases.
There are other grounds for terminating a physician employment agreement that might not be as well-known. For instance, a common ground for termination is a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires an employer to make reasonable accommodation to physicians with disabilities and if the employer is trying to terminate a physician’s employment agreement due to disability, the need to have a consistent way of the method of determining whether or not the disability is the cause for any issues in the work environment.
The definition of and the method of determining disability is crucial. As an employer might try to terminate a disabled physician under the grounds that they are concerned for the health of the physician’s patients. Although many will feel that this is not a good enough reason to terminate someone from their job, the quality of the care of a physician is hard to measure but should be a priority. In cases like a hospital setting where physicians can get their privileges revoked to protect the employer, it may be a reasonable choice made in good faith. As long as there is no discriminatory intent behind the termination. The physician may still be able to challenge the termination if necessary, but they will need to make sure that they have good reasons to suspect that this is an act of discrimination.