American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Statement on Restrictive Covenants

This statement was prepared by the College's Committee on Young Surgeons and was approved by the ACS Board of Regents at their October 2004 meeting.

Surgeons may be asked to enter into terms of employment that entail a "restrictive covenant" or "covenant not to compete" upon their voluntary separation or involuntary dismissal from that employment. Any restrictive covenant that interferes with the uninterrupted delivery of qualified surgical care to patients is considered unethical.

Restrictive covenants should be specific with regard to:

  1. The defined geographic area.
  2. The duration of the restrictive covenant.
  3. The presence of a restrictive covenant clause in subsequent contract renewals.

While the College recognizes the intent and the perceived necessity of restrictive covenants, members of the College are advised to review restrictive covenants contained in proposed contracts and to negotiate mutually agreeable terms. The College also recommends the review of all contracts with an attorney who is familiar with local laws and precedents prior to signing any contract.

Reprinted from Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons
Vol.90, No. 2, February 2005