Representing Medical and Mental Health Professionals
Call 612-294-2600 to discuss your case with a knowledgeable lawyer.
Schaefer Halleen is privileged to often represent physicians, licensed counselors and therapists, and other medical or mental health professionals. As a result, the Firm has developed a deep expertise in effectively navigating through the legal issues often faced by medical professionals. From Chief Medical Officers, to Department Chairs, to surgeons, psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, and executive/administrative leadership at all levels, these clients need counsel fully familiar with the complex legal issues which can directly affect employment in this area.
Experience with Physicians
Physicians subject to peer review and related licensing issues need a lawyer well versed in those processes. Medical staff privileges and licensing are often at issue in peer review. When discrimination, retaliation or antitrust motives taint this process, the tables can be turned on what could otherwise be a career-threatening accusation. An experienced lawyer can go on the offensive in these circumstances, and challenge both the confidentiality and immunities which might otherwise apply to the peer review process. This often results in opportunities to negotiate a reasonable resolution which precludes any license- or privilege- threatening reports, and allows the physician to transition to other opportunities, often with compensation for the improper manipulation of peer review. The lawyers at Schaefer Halleen also know how to ensure that physician contracts contain provisions protecting our physician clients when issues arise, and ensure that any restrictive covenants do not impose too great a burden when a transition needs to occur. Our physician contract-review services protect our clients, and are done with an efficiency that comes with extensive experience.
MD News Articles
- “Ensuring Due Process during Peer Review,” May 2015
- “Peer Review and Discrimination: No Place for Employers to Hide Improper Bias,” April 2015
- “Under the Microscope: A Review of Physicians’ Employment Rights When Complaints Occur,” March 2015
- “Schaefer Halleen LLC: Experienced Counsel for Complex Legal Issues,” February 2015
- “Legal Considerations for Physicians,” December 2014
For more information on MD News, visit their website.
The Client: 3,000+ Financial Advisors
Approach: Larry Schaefer served as co-lead counsel in this gender discrimination class action successfully prosecuted on behalf of more than 3,000 financial advisors.
Solution: The case settled for $31 million and extensive injunctive relief that revamped the compensation and promotion system, imposed internal training, and specific complaint resolution procedure.
The Client: 200+ Female Technicians
Approach: Larry Schaefer acted as lead counsel in this class action gender discrimination claim involving female technicians at 6 CBS-owned stations.
Solution: After a class was certified, the case settled for more than $8 million in compensation and comprehensive injunctive relief involving distribution of overtime, assignments, training and reporting obligations on behalf of approximately 200 female employees.
The Client: Individual Race Discrimination .
Approach: Larry Schaefer was trial counsel in an individual race discrimination case.
Solution: The jury awarded the plaintiff $380,000, including a $250,000 punitive damages award.
The Client: 150+ African-American Salaried Auto Manufacturer Employees.
Approach: Larry Schaefer was lead alternative dispute resolution counsel in this race discrimination case representing approximately 150 African American salaried employees throughout the company’s U.S. operations.
Solution: Claims were successfully prosecuted and resolved in a comprehensive, negotiated ADR procedure involving mediation, discovery and trial phases.
The Client: 250+ Employees.
Approach: Larry Schaefer was the lead counsel in this race discrimination class action consisting of more than 250 current and former employees.
Solution: The case was successfully settled for $3.1 million plus injunctive relief changing the method of evaluating, promoting and compensating class members and imposing extensive training obligations as well as a specific complaint procedure.
The Client: 1,000+ Employees of a Document Services Company.
Approach: Larry Schaefer was co-lead counsel
Solution: Successfully prosecuted race, national origin and Fair Labor Standards Act – based class and collective actions involving claims of more than 1,000 employees.
The Client: 2,000+ Railroad Employees.
Approach: Larry Schaefer participated in the successful prosecution of this race discrimination class action involving all terms and conditions of employment affecting certain hourly employee and all management employees.
Solution: Obtained settlement of more than $24 million in compensation and comprehensive injunctive relief for more than 2,000 employees.
The Client: 400 Bank Employees.
Approach: Larry Schaefer participated in the prosecution of this successful age discrimination collective action on behalf of almost 400 terminated bank employees.
Solution: The case settled for $58.5 million, establishing one of the largest per capita recoveries for any case in this field.
The Client: 300+ Terminated Employees
Approach: Larry Schaefer participated in the prosecution of this successful age discrimination collective action representing more than 300 terminated employees.
Solution: Obtained a $28.5 million settlement.
The Client: Terminated African-American baggage handler at large local airline with 10 year track record of good performance
Problem: Client terminated for positive drug test after alleged “reasonable suspicion” justified request for drug testing, under circumstances which suggested racist manager was behind this.
Approach: Larry Schaefer prosecuted race discrimination claim to jury in federal court.
Solution: Jury returns liability verdict which includes full back pay, emotional distress damages, and $300,000 punitive damage award. Case settled on appeal with award to client and fees paid by airline.
The Client: Executive Vice President of HR
Problem: Complains of sexist hierarchy, breach of promise to award her promotion to parent company, as well as sexual harassment.
Approach: Larry Schaefer presented facts and detailed analysis of legal claims in letter to Chairman.
Solution: Negotiate significant exit severance package including multiple years of compensation, voluntary resignation, reference letter, outplacement services paid by company, and client is now serving in similar capacity in another company.
The Client: Director-level executive a major multinational insurance corporation selected for termination in alleged RIF.
Problem: Standard RIF package provided less than year of compensation, imposed full non-compete/non-solicitation obligations, and diminished stock option rights.
Approach: Larry Schaefer presented a detailed factual recitation of how RIF selection was age-biased and criteria were subjective and flawed, demonstrate how alleged performance issues were example of “papering file” in an effort to justify termination selection.
Solution: Engaged directly with Assistant General Counsel in charge of employment matters and negotiate severance to over two years pay, accelerated vesting of options and other benefits, termination changed to voluntary resignation, and non-compete waived and non-solicitation limited to one year (from two). After one-year period Client is now competing effectively and retaining most of past clientele base.
The Client: Asian Engineer with Numerous Patents
Problem: Terminated as a result of national origin discrimination.
Approach: Drafted confidential settlement letter raising potential legal claims and reached mediated settlement.
Solution: Increased severance by over 150% and negotiated non-compete to allow him to immediately accept position with new company.
The Client: Human Resources Executive in his fifties
Problem: Terminated during a merger of two companies
Approach: Filed EEOC charge and engaged in mediation.
Solution: Over doubled his initial severance offer from the company.
The Client: 48 year-old executive
Problem: Harassed and terminated by new board members because of religious beliefs
Approach: Aggressively pursued litigation against former employer
Solution: Achieved settlement in an amount that satisfied the client
The Client: 55 year-old IT consultant
Problem: Fortune 500 company terminated employee due to client’s cancer diagnosis and his missing work due to cancer treatment
Approach: Analyzed strengths and weaknesses of potential case and negotiated directly with company
Solution: Privately negotiated over 600% increase in severance offered by company
The Client: 57 and 58 years old Truck Driver & Warehouse Manager for a manufacturing corporation.
Problem: Terminated after nearly four decades with employer after new leadership took over company and began to instate a younger workforce. Clients were not offered any severance beyond an insulting one month of health care. Company claimed that jobs were eliminated but there was evidence to suggest their job duties were taken on by new younger hires.
Approach: Strategically approached company pre-litigation
Solution: Negotiated and quickly secured substantial settlement, thereby allowing one client to transition into retirement and allowing the other to conduct a comprehensive and ultimately successful search for a new position without the pressure of having to accept the first thing that came his way.
The Client: 63 year old, female Director of large corporation
Problem: After over four decades of outstanding performance for corporation, client began to receive sham negative performance reviews and was subjected to ageist comments by younger boss. Client suspected that leadership was setting her up to fail in order to replace her with someone far younger.
Approach: Approached corporation’s in-house counsel directly while client was still employed.
Solution: Secured substantial six-figure severance package, including full retirement benefits, allowing client to comfortably transition into retirement.
The Client: Senior Human Resources executive with a large consulting firm.
Problem: Was denied promotion to head of HR after being promised the job.
Approach: Sent proposal letter to company and later filed EEOC Charge and engaged in mediation.
Solution: Obtained more than a year’s severance pay for client.
The Client: Staff architect at large nationwide architectural engineering firm.
Problem: Was terminated, supposedly as part of a staff reduction, but actually because of gender bias.
Approach: Sent proposal letter to company and engaged in direct negotiations through counsel
Solution: Obtained settlement that more than covered the compensation client lost while looking for a new job.
Many of these executives, managers and physician employees have employment contracts, usually for a specified term. It is critically important for these contracts to be very clear, for both sides, on:
- Overall expectations
- How performance is to be measured and evaluated
- When and how a potential termination event can occur
- What benefits are to be provided in this unfortunate circumstance
- What- if any- post-termination restrictive covenants can be enforced
Schaefer Halleen has unparalleled experience in all of these areas, knows the “state of the art” and other generally accepted language for these items, and can thus negotiate very effectively for our clients in the contract formation period. Clarity at the outset of these relationships protects medical professionals, and reduces the risk that difficult disputes will arise during the employment relationship.
Furthermore, there may come a time during the contract term where our clients want to have an “exit strategy” for moving their practice elsewhere, while maximizing the benefits to which they may be entitled under the contract terms and given events at work which have led them to seek a separation. Schaefer Halleen attorneys can analyze complex facts and contract terms and shape just such a strategy for our clients. Moreover, our reputation with large medical employers and the defense bar often leads to prompt and productive settlement discussions in these difficult situations.
Federal and State Laws Affecting Medical Professionals
There are numerous federal and state laws which have an exclusive or significant impact on medical and mental health professionals. Familiarity with these laws is critical when disputes arise, or in avoiding these disputes developing into litigation. To highlight one such law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a sweeping federal law protecting, among other things, personal medical information. Alleged HIPAA violations can often be the springboard for employment investigations and sometimes threatened adverse action against our clients. In a similar vein, reporting actual or threatened violations of the privacy required under this law can sometimes provoke a retaliatory response. Familiarity with this law, the authority interpreting it, and the regulatory guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is essential for effectively advocating for our clients when these kinds of issues arise.
The Minnesota Whistleblower Protection Act
The recently amended Minnesota Whistleblower Protection Act, Minn. Stat. §181.932, has numerous provisions directly applicable to the medical and mental health fields. The protection under the Act can provide robust, tort-like damages to our clients when their rights under this statute may have been violated. Our experience, and well-known track record in prosecuting such claims, often leads to very favorable early settlement resolutions for our clients.
Licensure and the Physician-Client Relationship
Understanding the ramifications of both licensure requirements and the unique importance of the physician-patient relationship must be paramount in effectively advocating for our medical industry clients. The former can give rise to defamation and other related claims when false information is provided or threatened to be provided, and the latter can give rise to tortious interference and/or breach of contract or quasi-contract claims when there is a demonstrable interference with this relationship. Schaefer Halleen attorneys have a truly unique expertise, built on years of experience advocating for and advising clients in the medical field, to determine when complex facts may give rise to these kinds of claims and to effectively prosecute these claims, when necessary.
If you are a medical or mental health professional, we would be delighted to deploy our considerable expertise to assist you in whatever employment issue(s) you may face.
Our Services for Medical Professionals:
- Advice in reviewing and editing initial employment contract offers and negotiating with the employer on behalf of our client to secure most favorable and detailed terms possible
- Fashioning an appropriate and achievable “exit strategy” which maximizes benefits available under the contract when seeking to separate during employment
- Evaluating and prosecuting breach of contract, tort, or statutory claims while seeking a favorable early resolution for our client throughout this process
To discuss your case with a knowledgeable lawyer, please call 612-294-2600.
What Our Clients Say
My sister referred me to Schaefer Halleen when I began to experience being “railroaded” out of a position in a large pediatric clinic I had served well and productively in for years, and I’m very grateful to have retained the Firm. The Clinic was represented by one of the largest Firms in the state, and Larry Schaefer stood up to this “defense” in a way that made crystal clear he wasn’t intimidated, and knew more about the legal issues than any other lawyer. As a result, we achieved my g...
Schaefer Halleen was the obvious choice when I was seeking experienced employment counsel to stand up on my behalf to months of interference with my surgical practice and breaches of numerous contract obligations. Larry Schaefer’s aggressive and exhaustive advocacy allowed me to not only get out of this dysfunctional and damaging work environment promptly, but to do so with significant financial security and the damage to my reputation stopped. In mediation, our very experienced mediator d...
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