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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11783
Experience:  JD, MBA
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On February 1st, 2011, I signed a two year relocation

Customer Question

On February 1st, 2011, I signed a two year relocation expense repayment agreement, with my former employer, a large grocery chain. After working at the new store as the store manager for two years, I gave my two week notice to quit on February 4th 2013, and was immediately relieved of my position. The company contends that even with my notice, I was 9 days short of the "transfer date" of February 27th. They claimed I owed them 20% of a $17000 relocation charge. (Almost all of which had gone to a moving company). This came to around $3600, went on my credit report and is now up to $4600. I maintain that on the document I signed, the transfer date was not there when I signed it, it was written in later. I also maintain that although they called it my choice to relocate to the new store, in fact I was the least senior store manager in a remote rural area, that had 5 stores. Two of the stores were closing, and one new store was taking its place. I was told by my district manager that I was not getting the new store, and I had the least seniority, so I was essentially being forced to move, as there would be no more store for me. Furthermore, the store that I moved to was a well known problem store, and had been open without a manager for a year and a half due to it's bad reputation. During my time there, I was repeatedly harassed by employees and family/friends of employees, including having my tires slashed and windows smashed, threats made to myself and family, food at a restaurant run along the floor before serving, and repeated attempts to cost me my job with false accusations. All of these incidents were investigated and documented by the corporate HR and/or Security departments. All of these incidents correllated with terminations or discipline issued to store employees. At the time of leaving my position in February 2013, I was again subject to false accusations that were investigated by security and found to be false. However when I discovered that someone had been in my backyard the night before, I decided it was time to take a job offer that had been made and get out. My question is, I asked a lawyer to challenge the debt as invalid, but the collection agency will not back down. So, my plan now is to pay the collection agency debt off (under objection), and sue my former employer in small claims court. I am currently trying to invest in a franchise opportunity, and this collection on my record will quite possibly stifle my opportunity. I am paying the debt off in full tomorrow. My question is, do you see anything in the story I described that would possibly warrant a different kind of a lawsuit other than the small claims.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do my very best to help if I can. Please bear with me a few moments while I review your question, conduct any necessary research, and type a response. Thank you.

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Hello again.

Q: My question is, do you see anything in the story I described that would possibly warrant a different kind of a lawsuit other than the small claims.

A: I don't see anything in your story that would indicate that you have any other type of claim against the chain, other than the claim for a refund of the relocation expenses. What jumped out at me was this:

"I was repeatedly harassed by employees and family/friends of employees"

-AND-

"All of these incidents were investigated and documented by the corporate HR and/or Security departments. All of these incidents correllated with terminations or discipline issued to store employees."

So, on the one hand, you were harassed, but on the other hand, the chain took it seriously, investigated, and terminated and disciplined employees. Accordingly, the chain acted appropriately. Under those circumstances, I don't see that you'd have a claim for anything associated with the harassment.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied.

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Hello again. I didn't hear back from you, so I'm just checking in to make sure that you don't need more help on this issue. If not, then please remember to provide a positive rating via the stars (and note that your positive rating is the only way that I'll get credit for helping you, so I greatly appreciate it). Thank you!

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