You can always seek the opinion of professionals within the industry. They will tell you what is reasonable to expect and what isn’t.
Another thing to note is that you need to be patient and let your employers bring up the contract themselves. Don’t get ahead of yourself; wait for them to start the conversation.
You need to be honest and straightforward when you’re making an agreement. Remember, there is no reason to be hesitant or embarrassed because it applies directly to you.
Ask questions every step of the way if something is unclear to you. Ask about the frequency of reviews, compensation, bonus and factors that will influence promotion.
Similarly, when you’re becoming a corporate OD, there are some things you need to watch out for things like the number of patients you will see an hour, hours of operation, holidays, weekends, staff support etc.
You need to know that in a corporate setting, it is completely normal to talk about growth opportunities, raises and bonuses, among other things.
If the employers at your workplace of interest are not keen on going into details about their business procedures, chances are that it is not a good sign.
Some element of transparency should be there when you’re negotiating a contract, and withholding of relevant information on any end is a huge red flag.
If the contract language and the context aren’t completely understandable, you should always ask for clarification. You can easily misinterpret ambiguous statements and the organization can hold you accountable. It is best to avoid signing something you’re not sure about.
Certain language as, “it depends on the store and region”. There are protocols from the corporate level. Make sure all your requests and agreements are in writing. Some other ambiguity could be that anything that you develop during that time that you are an employee is property of the company. As an employee, doing eye exams intellectual property is your own property not the company. If you have this clause it needs to to be removed.
Non disclosure agreements in an employee contract can be a red flag. If you are an employed OD at the store level many times sensitive information is not provided to you. If you are in this position you should not sign an agreement that is not specific to a certain situation or doesn’t have a time frame.
Verbal Agreements and Cues.
Anything that you and your employed have agreed upon needs to be clearly stated in your contract. If you’re denied this, then you should take this seriously because when something isn’t contractually binding, it is easier to get out of. What was verbally agreed upon needs to be in the contract. Many times if a contract is being “sold” as it is a great opportunity that you don’t want to miss because there are other ODs, don’t rush into it. Take your time to review, you don’t want to rush into something that might be hard to reverse.
Long Notice Periods and Restrictive Covenants.
Beware of notice periods that are extraordinarily long. There is something to take notice about any organization that requires you to have a notice period longer than 60 days or if they require to help find a replacement.
Restrictive Covenants are very common in Corporate optometry. A typical covenant is 1-3 miles over a year. Beware of vague covenants without an address to start with and longer than a year. If you are a traveling OD make sure that you are not required to not work 1-3 miles from all the locations because that can limit you to certain locations in your state.
Now that you know some of the warning signs in a contract, you will be able to negotiate in a way that benefits you in the long run. It is necessary to go over the best and worst-case scenarios that can happen during your term of employment and request for amendments accordingly.
When you’re signing a contract, you need to take your time and understand every clause. Consult a lawyer to help guide you. Very contract is negotiable.