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Contract term expired, now what?

            May 5, 2015
 
Question:

Jennifer,

The term of my employment contract has expired, now what happens?  Should I discuss with my employer?  Neither of us addressed it. 

Thoughts?  

Dr. I

Answer:

Well, if neither party addressed the termination, I will presume status quo is in place with regards to compensation and benefits...  Having not reviewed the contract under discussion, I can only conjecture as to terms, but the key issue I will address is with most contracts if the term has expired, so has the obligation to give notice for termination.  Job security has somewhat gone out the window if you are located in an "at will" state, meaning you may be subject to termination without cause for any reason or no reason at all (so long as not a discriminatory or illegal reason). Job security is a major perk of a continuing contract.  Similarly from the employer perspective, a continuing term may keep in place and protect the duration of certain protective covenants, such as a non compete or non solicit.  Allowing a term to run without extension or renewal may trigger a protective covenant to begin its run, starting the countdown clock allowing an employee to solicit employees or patients.  

Most contracts provide for auto-renewal, which I recommend.  If you are against an auto renewal provision due to fear of stagnant progression in status or compensation, you can still have an extended or renewing term with built in review periods, or adjustments to compensation. 

For specific advice, happy to review your agreement. Better yet, send me the next one BEFORE you sign. 


 


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