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Career Guidance for Job Seekers

It Can't Happen to Me! - My Position Has Been Terminated, Now What?

G Starkschall

J Masten

B Curran

W Grant

G Starkschall1*, J Masten2*, B Curran3*, W Grant4*, (1) UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, (2) Aspirus Wausau Hospital, Wausau, WI, (3) Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Richmond, VA, (4) Baylor College of Medicine, Bellaire, AA


Introduction - G Starkschall, Presenting Author
Legal Aspects of Employment - J Masten, Presenting Author
My Personal Experience - B Curran, Presenting Author
My Personal Experience - W Grant, Presenting Author

As presented at the 57th Annual Meeting and Exhibition of the AAPM in Anaheim, CA, 2015.

In the past few years, several high-profile medical physicists found their positions terminated. It is a fact that no medical physics job is a sinecure, and that individuals can be terminated through no fault of their own. Medical physicists need to be prepared for such an occurrence. Termination provisions in an employment contract, whether individually negotiated or as part of an employee manual, are important, and also generally overlooked when one is going into a new job. Coupled with the fact that most states are "at-will," that makes for a tough position for any physicist who finds his/her position terminated.

In this course, a medical physicist who is also a practicing attorney will start the discussion with a description of the various types of employment situations and employment agreements. This will be followed by two high-profile medical physicists who had their positions terminated in recent years, who will describe their experiences, including answering such questions as

How much time were you given before termination was effective?
Did you have any foreshadowing of what was coming?
How did you deal with the termination?
Given hindsight, what would you have done differently to mitigate the effects of your termination?
During job interviews, are there ways to open closets to find the skeletons?
What advice would you give medical physicists if faced with a similar situation?
What can you negotiate in a termination agreement?
What kinds of termination agreements could be presented?

The symposium will conclude with a panel discussion.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the various types of employment contracts with an emphasis on termination provisions.
2. Recognize the implications of non-compete clauses in employment contracts.
3. Recognize the possibility of termination of employment.
4. Identify ways to recognize possibly poor employment situations
5. Identify steps that one could take to mitigate the effects of termination.