Can You Force a Doctor to Retire in New York?

Some physicians choose to retire while they are still in their prime, even if they have not begun to noticeably decline. They do not come to this decision lightly, because they have embraced their profession with a passion that their colleagues share. You embarked on this professional journey and spent several years in school and in training, learning your chosen specialty and developing a dedication to your calling. You anticipated practicing for many years to come. Unfortunately, a third party is pushing you – or in some cases, forcing you – to retire, even though you feel you have many productive years of practicing left. But can they legally do that? If you are wondering whether a third party can force a doctor to retire, please read on, then contact one of our experienced New York physician defense lawyers today.

Does New York law require a doctor to retire at a certain age?

The United States does not impose a mandatory retirement age for physicians. However, your skills and competency can decline with age and as a result of various medical conditions. Studies have found that cognitive abilities decline by about twenty percent in individuals between forty and seventy-five years of age. These changes may have a particularly pronounced effect on physicians in procedure-intensive specialties like surgeries.

All that said, physicians “age out of their skills” at different points in their lives. As it so happens, you may still be at the top of your game at the age a third party arbitrarily sets retirement age. In point of fact, one-third of practicing surgeons are over the age of fifty-five and the average age at which they opt for retirement is increasing.

Is forced retirement legal for doctors in New York?

An amendment in the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) largely abolished the practice of mandatory retirement at a set age in 1986. However, outside of a legislature or courtroom, the reality is much more complicated. Since older employees tend to have higher salaries, companies that want to downsize without layoffs sometimes offer their most senior employees early retirement packages, which may include severance pay, continuing health insurance coverage and other incentives.

What should I do if a third party is forcing me to retire?

First of all, you should consult with Paul E. Walker prior to signing any documents or waivers your employers may offer you. Much as you may not like to think about it, retiring might be in your best interests. Nonetheless, you should know that you have the right to negotiate the conditions. Conversely, if you can demonstrate your fitness through a positive assessment of your physical dexterity, cognitive skills and hand-eye coordination, you might have sufficient grounds to challenge a forced retirement. Whatever choice you make, our firm can help you.

Contact our experienced New York City firm

If you are a medical professional accused of misconduct, contact the Walker Medical Law firm to set up a free initial consultation.