Comparison of Time and Geographical Limits

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Non-compete provisions are intended to keep the hospital from losing clients to physicians whose employment has been terminated. According to Gamble (2012), an effective non-compete clause will ensure that a physician does not compete with the former employer, but it must also balance this with the employee's interests. Hospitals are always the hardest hit when they give their personnel contracts with extremely tight non-compete clauses. If this practice spreads throughout the business, employers are frequently sued by other practices from which they hire. Therefore, it is upon the hospital to offer a less restrictive non-compete agreements with the hope that all the other practices will replicate the same thus making it easy to acquire new physician whenever existing ones leave. Therefore, by being fair to the physician, the hospital is fair to the other players in the industry. A fair non-compete clause is that which has enforceable terms. It is important to consider that physicians are individuals with social and economic responsibilities. Having very restrictive non-competent clauses means that they have to relocate to other places. They also have limited job options for a long time in case they have to continue practicing after they terminate their contract with the current employer. This is likely to give them a hard time. In some cases, the physician may feel that the costs of relocating are too high. They will therefore choose to violate the provision and brace for a lawsuit. This will lead to unnecessary expenses by both parties. It also strains relationships between them and between the former and existing employers. The image of the health facility as an employer is tainted and potential employees will be unwilling to enter into contracts with them.

Hacker (2011) notes that it would be fair for a non-compete clause to restrict the practice of a physician whose contract has been terminated to not practicing within three miles if the facility is located in urban areas and thirty miles in the countryside. The non-compete clause should not also exceed eighteen months. From these recommendations, it can be concluded that this clause is too restrictive. It is also counterproductive to the health sector. Assuming that all the hospitals in the state were to provide an agreement with this clause, there will be a large number of tortious interference law suits in courts because the terms are not enforceable.

An Alternative Non-Compete Clause

“Physician agrees not to practice within five miles for fifteen months after the physician terminates his or her agreement with the health system. If this is violated, the physician agrees to pay a sum of $5000 per month as compensation for this violation”

Enforcement of Non-Compete Clauses at The State Level

According to OSBA (2016), state laws do not prohibit the employer from making a non-compete clause a mandatory condition in their hiring process. A ruling by the Supreme Court of Ohio allows the enforcement of such clauses if the employer has legitimate interests that are at risk. The court allows non-compete clauses even if the employee is likely to face hardships in their enforcement. Therefore, it is upon the physician to ensure that before they sign employment agreements containing non-compete clauses, they consult widely and try to get the employer compromise as much as possible.


Hacker, S. (2011). Physician employment agreements: read the fine print, the student doctor network. Retrieved from

Hernandez, S. R. (2009). Strategic Human Resources Management in Health Services Organizations, 3e, 3rd Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from

Ohio State Bar Association. (2016). Are Noncompetition Agreements Enforceable in Ohio? OSBA, August 7, 2016. Retrieved from

May 24, 2023

Health Government Law



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Hospital Employment Contract

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