In a previous post we mentioned that most employment relationships in the state of Pennsylvania are “at will.” While this is true, in some situations the relationship is memorialized in an employment contract. Among other things, an employment contract could contain specifics regarding how much an employee will be paid. As is the case in at will situations, under certain circumstances, employees who believe they have been mistreated by an employer can take legal action.
A vascular surgeon who worked for a Pennsylvania hospital recently did this very thing.
The man began working for Saint Vincent Medical Education and Research Institute in May 2012. He was terminated in July 2014, following his 62nd birthday. He claims that the contract guaranteed a salary draw of $525,000 per year and that it could not be reduced until the third quarter of 2014, at the earliest. Despite the contract, the man said it was reduced in the second quarter of 2014.
In his claim he also alleges that he was terminated without cause and replaced by younger doctors. He also said he was not provided the number of non-medical staff outlined the employment agreement. He believes this resulted in the loss of new patients due to inefficient scheduling.
Because of these issues the man said he did not receive $100,000 to which he is entitled. Among other things he is seeking punitive and compensatory damages.
When you are required to sign an employment contract it is a good idea to have an employment lawyer review it prior to signing. While this could help avoid issues in the future, as this case illustrates there are still conflicts that could arise. Here again, working with an employment attorney is advisable.