You will be redirected in
40
 seconds
 
StudentDC.com © 2014 | 5150 Palm Valley Rd. Suite 103 | Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 | P:800.533.4263 F:904.285.9944
 
studentdc logo
July 22, 2007
Article Tools

Signing a non-compete agreement
By Jean Murray, PhD

A non-compete agreement is probably the most controversial part of any contract. It’s very difficult to set a general rule and courts won’t enforce the agreement unless it’s “reasonable.”

Let’s first discuss the general terms of a non-compete agreement. This part of an employment contract is designed to protect the hiring doctor in case you decide to leave and you “steal” his or her patients.

Non-compete agreements usually take the form of a restriction on three factors:

  1. Scope of activity (practicing chiropractic vs. practicing a specific technique),
  2. Related Articles

    1. Prepare a resumé or CV with a cover letter 
    2. Private practice vs. employment 
    3. Signing a non-compete agreement 
    4. Becoming an independent contractor 
    5. Finding an associate position 
    6. Evaluating an associate contract 
    7. Finding a job in chiropractic 
    8. The way of the champion 
    9. Don’t send out that BARE resume! 
    10. What does a successful associate look like? 
    Range of activity (prohibiting practice within a certain radius from the practice), and
  3. Period of restrictions (length of time).

WHAT’S REASONABLE?

Here’s where it gets tricky: What is a “reasonable” restriction? Most of these agreements broadly restrict “practice of chiropractic.” In regard to time period, in most cases, two years or less would be considered a “reasonable” time to prohibit you from practicing.

The distance restriction is more problematic, since it depends on the area. In an area that has a lot of people, such as a suburb, the area of restriction might be no more than five miles. In a rural area, the restriction might be as much as 25 miles.

Non-compete agreements are written based on the concept of “restraint of trade.” If the non-compete unreasonably restricts the former employee’s ability to practice (that’s restraint of trade), it isn’t going to be upheld. If the former employee merely engages in “ordinary competition,” that is, the same level of competition as any other chiropractor setting up practice in the area, prohibiting the former employee from practicing is unreasonable.

On the other hand, if it can be proven that the former employee took patient files and solicited patients, that’s unfair to the former employer and goes beyond “ordinary competition.” (Clear so far?)

So how do you know what’s reasonable? That’s the problem; you don’t. Let’s say you have signed a non-compete agreement that says you can’t practice chiropractic for two years within 25 miles of the other doctor, and you are in Golden, Colo. Technically, if you decide to set up practice in Boulder (a little more than 20 miles away), you may be in violation of the contract.

The way this is decided is through a court case. This means that you would move to Boulder and set up practice. The other doctor would see that you’ve done this, and he would get the court to issue an injunction against you, shutting you down, and prohibiting you from practicing and damaging his practice, until this is settled.

This might take months, if not years. The case goes to court, and the judge or jury make the determination of whether to uphold the non-compete, based on whether they think it unreasonably prohibits you from practicing.

Even if you win, you lose, because you’ve been shut down; you have many attorney fees to pay; and you have to rebuild your practice.

You may have heard that non-compete agreements are illegal. That’s not true. They are just very difficult to enforce. Courts decide enforceability on a case-by-case basis, and the burden of proof is on the former hiring doctor to prove that the non-compete is not unreasonable.

The best recourse is to go into an associate contract knowing that you’ll have to move far away from this practice when you leave. If the non-compete is 25 miles, double the distance to 50 miles. Play it safe.

Some examples of articles from attorneys on this issue:

• Non-Competition Contract, Trade Secret Lawyer, Attorney, Law Firm: tcattorney.typepad.com/noncompete/ (Michigan)

• Non-Compete Agreements in Texas - FAQ Smith Robertson Trial and Litigation Practice Group: smith-robertson.com/Litigation/FAQ%20Non-compete.htm (Texas)

• Are Non-competition Agreements Enforceable in Colorado Newsletters and Articles: rothgerber.com/newslettersarticles/el009.asp (Colorado)

• Employer-Employee Non-Compete Agreement in Florida, By Donald J. Spero, Esq.: floridamediationgroup.com/articles/spero/2000_Employer_employee_non
-compete_agreements_in_florida.html
(Florida)

To find out about non-competes in your state, go to Google and type in “non compete agreement” and the name of your state.

Find us on facebookFind us on Twitter
StudentDC Expert Insights
57
Richard Quadrino, Esq.

Employees of Health Insurers Beware: You Are ERISA Fiduciaries And Can Be Removed From Your Job By a Federal Judge

12/15/2014
Most medical providers and others are not familiar with the many relationships that govern the group health plan claims... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
25
Dr. Drew Stevens

2015 Trends to Follow for Chiropractors

12/11/2014
It is surprising to know that in just a few short weeks, we are all going to celebrate a... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
47
Anthony Lombardi, DC

Become a leader in your community by creating the news

12/04/2014
Remember as you prepare to enter clinical practice that you are in a position of great influence to improve... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
21
Mark Sanna, DC

Cracking Your Knuckles: Is It Harmful?

11/18/2014
... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
16
Kelly Robbins

Grab Your Free 2014 Marketing Planning Guide

12/27/2013
2014 Marketing Planning Guide Now Available Hello! It's time to set your intentions for 2014 and design your year of success!... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
34
Perry Chinn

In the Bleak Mid-winter...

12/20/2013
One of my favorite seasonal carols is In the Bleak Midwinter.  While singing this song this past week at a... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
33
Daron Stegall

Is Your Practice 'Really' Ready to Grow in 2014?

12/19/2013
So here we are… on the cusp of starting another year in practice?... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
37
Shawne Duperon

Holiday Story Ideas to Pitch

12/02/2013
Avoid the mistake of pitching "Chiro" stories this holiday season.   http://youtu.be/z1fedaXDpIo  ... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
46
Zach Zavoral

Pinterest for Your Chiropractic Practice

12/20/2012
There is a newer social media heavyweight on the radar that is advantageous for your chiropractic practice. ... Read More
comments(1)
42
Alex Niswander

Patient Referrals; Are You Automated?

11/01/2012
Patient Referrals; Are You Automated? By Alex Niswander   A big part of my ongoing newsletter is to get you thinking about... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
29
Daniel Sosnoski

The outlook for 2012

12/30/2011
Congratulations on getting through a difficult and complex year. Surviving 2011 may have tested your wits, courage, and endurance,... Read More
comments(197)
39
Jamie Phillips, DC

Chiropractic Marketing Tip #91

12/23/2011
The Chiropractic marketing idea of the day, is what to place into the welcome video on your web-site.... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
36
Dr Joe DiDuro

Foods Which May Help Reduce Diabetes and Pre-diabetes Risk

12/22/2011
Here is a GREAT CHART to give patients to Reduce DB RISK!... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
35
Julie Weaver

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

12/20/2011
Here's our holiday wish for you... [embed width="400" height="300"]http://vimeo.com/33610980[/embed]... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
28
Rodger Murphree D.C., C.N.S

What a Bunch of Baloney

12/23/2010
The article from The Daily Mail is perhaps the stupidest piece of yellow journalism I've ever read. Complementary medicine 'can... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
27
drellen

What Are Enzymes?

11/10/2010
In my more than twenty years of working with enzyme therapy, I have seen remarkable improvements in patients with... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
10
Dr. Paul Varnas

Is This Health Care, or is it Marketing?

11/08/2010
There is an old joke about research that likens it to a man looking on the street for his... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
5
Dr. Perry

Who Invented Laser and How Does It Work?

12/23/2009
First theorized by Albert Einstein in 1916, and invented by Theodore Maiman in 1960, the laser has become... Read More
comments(3)
20
Lisa Roberts

Would you like to attract new patients?

12/03/2009
What are you doing right now, proactively to attract new patients into your office? Here are a few simple... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
2
Jean Murray

Opting Out of Medicare - The Answer is "NO"

12/19/2008
I have been having a conversation with some of the readers of my Practice Startup Success newsletter about... Read More
comments(1)
14
Dr. A. W. Martin

They must have read my book

12/04/2008
There is a new study showing the importance of proper body pH.  What the study is saying that every... Read More
Be the first to comment on this entry
8
Dr. Jasper Sidhu

Vibration Exercise and Weight Loss: Getting Past the Hype

12/01/2008
... Read More
comments(5)
Featured Videos

Buyer Beware
2/8/2012
Who should you trust? Do your research on seller history and testimonials!


Chiropractic marketing success
2/8/2012
Dr. Drew Stevens discuss chiropractic marketing success.


Building a brand
2/8/2012
The importance of having a personal brand


Additional Videos
Recent Job Openings
Associate needed in busy Seattle practice
Seattle, WA12/15/2014

High-volume, subluxation-based practice in downtown Seattle is hiring an associate team member. Chiropractor must have a great personality and be reliable, energetic, principled, a team player, motivated, able to adjust high volume, and ... More

Chiropractor Wanted for a Chiropractic Associate DC Job- Hiring- Opening
Las Vegas, NV12/12/2014

Phenomenal opportunity to practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, or Salt Lake City, Utah, at one of the premier upper cervical offices in the country! Excellent training, work environment, pay, and bonus -- all available ... More

Associate Chiropractor
Garland, TX12/12/2014

Position will be in conjunction with existing owner/chiropractor but we are open to other possibilities (e.g., renting out space). Our single-doctor facility receives 50 to 60 ... More