How Many Locations Should a Nurse Practitioner Non Compete Apply To? | Nurse Non Competes
How many locations should a restricted area be attached to within a non-compete clause for a nurse practitioner? Before I kind of get into that, we need to back up and kind of talk about what is a non-compete clause. Depending on your state, there are some that NP non-compete clauses are unenforceable, or you have to make a certain amount of money annually in order for the non-compete clause to become enforceable. You should always check that first or speak with an attorney about that. And then you want to look at your employment agreement. If you have a non-compete clause, it’s normally under the restrictive covenants. Restrictive covenants are just a promise not to do something.
What Will a Court Enforce?
In a non-compete clause, you’re promising not to compete with your former employer. Also, there may be a non-solicitation clause for patients or for employees. You want to read through that carefully. A lot of times, clients sometimes graze over these areas, but non-compete clauses can have serious consequences if you sign your agreement and then later leave and aren’t able to work in the area. Sometimes it’s large areas and you must move, or it’s difficult to find employment. So, non-compete clauses are really important. I would say that’s one of our biggest areas that we’re advising clients on within an employment contract. With all that being said, normally it’s two parts. One, you’re restricted for a certain period, that’s anywhere from one to three years. After your employment has ended with your employer, you are restricted for a period to not compete with them.
And then for that period, you’re going to have a restricted area. It’s normally in miles, but it kind of depends on where you are in the United States. If you’re in New York City, miles are unreasonable, so you’re probably going to go like city blocks. If you’re in a rural area, it may be more miles. If you’re in a city, it might be less. It’s kind of unique to where you are. You want to think about if this job ends, will I be able to find work, or will it be difficult? So, we have the period, we have the restricted area, but here’s the tricky part: sometimes non-compete clauses talk about locations that the restricted area attaches to. Other topics of interest include:
- Is a 2 Year Non Compete for a Nurse Practitioner Reasonable?
- Is a Non Compete Enforceable Against a Nurse Practitioner?
Let’s just use an example of 10 miles. You’re restricted to 10 miles from certain locations. Now, it should be, in my opinion, only from your primary location where you’re primarily giving your services. That’s where, in my opinion, you should be restricted from, but you want to be careful. Sometimes there’s language in your employment contract that states that that restricted area attaches to any location that you provide services for them while you’re employed. So, if you cover for someone while they’re on vacation, the non-compete would attach to it even for a day. If someone is sick and you go to a different location, your non-compete clause now attaches there. So, if you have multiple locations, this can knock out a huge area of state even. So, you want to be careful about that.
The other one that’s tricky is whenever you see language in an employment contract that states you’re restricted from any location of the practice. That’s difficult. We don’t have a crystal ball. We don’t know in the future if they expand or if they’re going to have more locations. Let’s say they have three whenever you start, but they’ve bought out a couple of practices. Now, they have six and you’re restricted. Remember that 10 miles is from every one of those locations. Then we get into a huge area that’s restricted. So, in my opinion, in non-compete clauses, you should be restricted only from the primary location where you’re giving services at. That’s what the restricted area should attach to. And again, for a reasonable period. In my opinion, it would be one year, but I have seen anywhere from one to three years that you’re restricted.
In summary, you want to be able to read your non-compete clause and know exactly how long and what location I am restricted from, and you want to try to negotiate it to your primary location. It’s important, I think, to consult an attorney with these types of issues, just because non-compete clauses are a little complicated and you want to make sure that you’re getting it reviewed by someone who knows the laws in your state. And then also, who understands how this is going to affect you and can explain that to you, so you fully understand what you’re signing.
Nurse Non Compete Years in the Agreement
Is a two-year restriction on a non-compete for a nurse practitioner reasonable? Before I get into that, I’m just going to briefly go over what is a non-compete. A non-compete clause is typically listed in your restrictive covenants in your employment agreement or contract. And the non-compete clause is to protect your employer’s interest so that you just don’t cross the street and take all the training and everything that they’ve taught you and then take all their business away and compete with them. That’s where you get the non-compete from. A non-compete clause is enforceable in most states, but you should always check your state law or check with an attorney and have them review your contract.
However, if it is enforceable in your state and you have a non-compete, there are normally two parts to it. The first part is going to be the time that you’re restricted from competing with your employer. That’s anywhere from one to three years typically that I have seen. I’ve never really seen it shortened by less than a year, but it’s possible that it could be out there. And then the second part of the non-compete is the restricted area. So, for that period, you may not become employed in that restricted area. And that can be, well, this really varies depending on where you are in the United States. It can be anywhere from one mile or city blocks if you’re in New York City, even to tens of miles. It just depends. And you can always try to negotiate your non-compete clause.
It’s something that I always review when I’m looking over an employment contract because a non-compete clause is serious. And a lot of times, clients don’t think about it until after their employment ends. And then now there are some serious consequences. They may have to move and leave the area after you’ve established yourself there. And it’s difficult. And you also don’t want to worry about violating your non-compete clause because that can have some serious consequences. There could be injunctions, which are basically like a restraining order that your employer will get, saying you cannot work in that area. Sometimes there are liquidated damages which say if you violate the non-compete clause, you must pay tens of thousands of dollars.
So, it’s serious. The non-compete clause is an area of concern I always look at when I’m reviewing an employment contract. Back to our question at hand, is two years reasonable for a non-compete? In my opinion, no. I would always try to encourage our clients to negotiate it down to one year or less. Two years is long, and it gets even trickier depending on how the employment contract is written, and I’ll give you an example. Sometimes multiple locations will have that restricted area attached to them. We’ll say something like you’re restricted from 10 miles from any location of the practice. That’s concerning because the practice could grow. So, there could be additional locations. And if you’re restricted for two years after your employment has ended and that practice expands and they add more locations, then you have a serious problem there.
You could have been working at a location and not violating your non-compete, but now you are because they added a location. So, you always want to be careful. One year, in my opinion, is reasonable. But after one year, I think it’s just too much and it’s hard to keep track to know if you’re in violation of it or you’re not. So, yes, I would always try to push for less than two years, absolutely. And again, non-compete clauses are one of the most common things that a prospective employee will negotiate. You always want to be respectful to your employer knowing that they are going to be protecting their interests, but you also want to protect yours as well. And having to worry about that for over a year is just unreasonable, in my opinion. So, I would always push for one year. Two years, I would say, is unreasonable. One year or less.
Practice Restriction after the Employment has Ended
Is a non-compete enforceable against a nurse practitioner? This depends on several factors, but first, let’s start with what is a non-compete. A non-compete clause is normally located in your restrictive covenants within your employment agreement. The non-compete clause is just going to state that for a period, normally anywhere from one to three years, you’re restricted from working in a certain area. And normally, it’s within miles, and depending on your state law, it might be a little bit different how that restricted area is calculated. But for that period, you’re restricted from working in that area so that you’re not competing with your former employer. Non-compete clauses can get really complicated and they’re unique to each situation.
Sometimes it is difficult to know if it’s enforceable. I also think there are a lot of misconceptions out there that if the non-compete clause is stated a certain way that it’s unenforceable and you can get out of it, it’s difficult, I would say, to get out of a non-compete clause that you have signed. Now, if we’re talking about the beginning when you’re negotiating, it’s much easier to negotiate your non-compete clause, but if you are currently employed, you are giving the notice to terminate your employment, and you want out of your non-compete clause, or you want to know if it’s enforceable, this gets a little complicated and I would always advise everyone to meet with an attorney and have the attorney review your documents just so that you make sure because you can have serious consequences
If your non-compete clause is enforceable and you violate it, there are really two types of legal remedies. The first one, it’s normally listed in your employment contract, this is the most common way. It’s under equitable relief. What this means is that if you violate your non-compete clause, your former employer can take you to a court and normally court for equitable relief. A judge would look at the contract and if it’s enforceable, they would sign something which is like a restraining order or an injunction saying that you cannot work in that area, and you may have to pay for those legal fees. I also have seen contracts where there are liquidated damages. And what that means is, if you violate the non-compete clause, your employer can ask you to reimburse them for tens of thousands of dollars.
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