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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 110475
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I am a physician, and recently got laid off when within a short

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I am a physician, and recently got laid off when within a short period of time I overslept three times. I had worked for the practice for more than two years, and this hadn't happened before. Looking back, I clearly was suffering from burnout. Patients I treated were very sick and dealt with serious existential questions. The practice was poorly managed by a strictly profit-driven company with a very aggressive advertising strategy along the lines "nobody else can take care of you as good as we will". Despite the lack of sufficient support to do so, we actually were able to assure that it happened. Doing so amidst the never-ending management "crises", clearly, was very difficult and frustrating for everybody. We at the practice, however, had a strong team spirit and true dedication to patients. While everybody complained at times, we didn't dwell on it. I was a well respected team member. While I had occasional "behind the doors" disagreements with the practice administrator, we handled those in a civil manner, and I don't think I gave them more headache than others. Until those several faithful mornings when I overslept. It may have ended differently if I hadn't prevented a humiliating mandated psychiatry referral after the second episode by bringing up in a one-to-one conversation with the practice administrator the highly questionable billing practice that I knew was a big vulnerability of the practice. I felt that fighting on another "front" at that time to prove that I am not insane would have been too much distraction from the really demanding job and my already injured self esteem at that point. I am seeing a competent professional and nobody really had a feeling that I would not be safe to practice. If not for the third episode that occurred several weeks later, I probably would have kept the job because I really was doing a great job and they needed me. Then, however, rather understandably, I got fired. The termination letter referred to the clause in employment agreement how either party can end collaboration for no cause, and only stated that that day was my last day with the practice and that I will receive my salary for several months as foreseen in that clause. This was a mutually devastating situation. My patients have been trying to reach out to me through social media, and I am told that both employees and patients were really devastated about me being suddenly gone. Meanwhile, after a few weeks of much needed rest I am in the best spiritual and physical shape I have ever been, and have started search for a new job. There, however, the question about prior termination obviously is asked in applications. I just know that upfront admission that I have been terminated will take me off any serious employers list of consideration immediately. I have a ton of good reasons to have left practice myself (not a good one to use either, but perhaps better) and had strongly already been considering it. I have no good way of knowing what will be said if potential employers call them up. It is a very tight lipped company on every level and I really don't know what they would like to see happening to me next. Any suggestions how to approach the question about having been terminated?
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

If you were given a termination letter stating that you were terminated without cause, as you stated, then this is what you need to tell the prospective employers as you have the letter stating that your work was terminated for no cause and you were given your severance as promised. Thus, the letter states no misconduct and that is what you are entitled to tell the prospective employers. If your previous employer says differently, which they unlikely will do because then they open themselves to a suit for defamation based on their own letter stating your termination was for no cause, then as I said, you would have grounds to sue the previous employer for defamation because you have their own words saying your contract was ended for no cause.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So how likely you think are the potential employers going to find out that the termination happened at the employer's choice given who said it first? I have been trying to paint this as a mutually amicable separation due to differences about the future direction of the practice (which in broad strokes indeed was what happened ... with my body making a choice for me). I have a question in front of me from a potential employer: "Have you ever been discharged or fired from a position?" and I really want to answer it "No", knowing that otherwise they almost certainly won't consider me. Do you see a risk from a legal viewpoint in doing so? Or, perhaps, do you think it would be unwise altogether?

Thank you for your response.

Generally, if your letter states that there was no cause for the separation, the employer will not contradict that because they do not want you to sue for defamation since you have written proof of what their official reason was for terminating your services. You should answer the question "yes," and state in the explanation, "was terminated for no cause, see attached letter from employer." Thus, you were completely honest and most all prospective employers will not penalize you for being fired for no reason as that is what at will employment provides for.
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