When an employment contract is too vague

September 15, 2006

I'm about to sign my first employment contract as a physician. In addition to a list of specific actions that could get me fired, the contract also says that "behavior that reflects negatively on the practice" is grounds for dismissal. Isn't this too vague? Should I object to this clause, or is it the norm in employment contracts?

Q: I'm about to sign my first employment contract as a physician. In addition to a list of specific actions that could get me fired, the contract also says that "behavior that reflects negatively on the practice" is grounds for dismissal. Isn't this too vague? Should I object to this clause, or is it the norm in employment contracts?

A: You should ask the employer to delete that clause. Such language is generally not used in employment contracts because it's so general an employer could interpret it however he pleases. The list of reasons for termination should be limited to such clear-cut specifics as loss of license, censure by an accreditation agency, or discharge from the hospital's medical staff.