How do I negotiate a non-compete clause?
The steps in negotiating a non-compete clause, from the NP's point of view are:
- In the first round of negotiations, reject it. No one wants restrictions on future practice opportunities.
- If the employer refuses to delete the clause, ask what the employer will provide in return for the employee's agreement not to compete after leaving the employer's practice.
- If the answer to #2 is "No signature equals no job," examine future plans and read the language of the non-compete agreement carefully. If planning to stay in the geographic area long-term, and if the clause is written to prevent the NP from taking any other local job in the NP's field, then consider declining to sign the covenant, and if, necessary, decline the job.
- Before signing a non-compete clause, consult an attorney who has experience with professional employment contracts.
- If the employer is willing to negotiate the terms of the clause, or to provide excellent terms of employment in return for a promise which restricts future job opportunities, ask for minimal time and miles restrictions.
This tip is excerpted from The Green Sheet, a monthly newsletter from the Law Office of Carolyn Buppert. For a 12-month subscription, send a check for $30 to Law Office of Carolyn Buppert, 1419 Forest Dr., Suite 205, Annapolis, MD 21403.
Updated November 13, 2001
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