How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Marsha411JD Your Own Question

Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 16970
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 28 yrs. exp in Employment Law
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Marsha411JD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I was hired recently and paid a sign on bonus to relocate for

Resolved Question:

I was hired recently and paid a sign on bonus to relocate for a role in dallas. I ended my lease, packed and had secured housing in dallas. Two weeks prior to my move, the company told me to "hold off" on my move. I had to re secure housing in NYC immediately as my apartment was already rented. I worked remotely for 2 months and then out of the blue was fired. The reasons in the termination letter are all bogus and now they are demanding my sign on bonus be returned. They put in a terrible situation and I feel this is wrongful.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

Thank you for the information, however, I don't see where you have asked a legal question. Can you tell me what that is? Also, I need to make sure that you understood that when you agreed to the TOS you knew that the Experts on this Site cannot provide you with legal advice or a legal opinion. That is because we cannot form an attorney-client relationship.

We can discuss the law as it relates to your issue, and options, but no advice or opinions.

If you understand that and want to continue, then I will also need to know if you signed an actual employment contract and if so if after reading it you believe they have violated it. Also, what reasons does the sign on bonus say that the money must be repaid? Finally, what State law does the contract say governs controversies?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the reply. I do understand the TOS and honestly just want options and will perhaps meet with a local manhattan attorney. There was an offer letter signed and I agreed to relocate as I stated prior. The sign on bonus does state forgiven after two years but nothing about if they fire me out of the blue and the reasons they state in the termination letter are mostly incorrect. It does not say what State governs controversies. What I think is very odd is they used the office address in Dallas, TX as my home address. They did not want to deal with NY state laws dealing with an employee as they had assumed I would be relocating within 45 days of my start date.

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello again Brad and thank you for the additional information. Since you apparently had an offer letter and not a term contract, the employer, under both NY and Texas law could let you go for any, or no, reason and with no notice or warning unless doing so would violate their company policies or your offer letter or was motivated because you are a member of a protected class under employment discrimination laws. That is because both States are employment "at will" states.

That said, the issue here really is the sign on bonus recoupment issue. If the agreement said that the sign on bonus would be repayable under any circumstances if your employment ended prior to two years, then technically they could demand repayment. However, you might be able to successfully argue detrimental reliance under an implied contract theory for your actions in quitting your previous job and ending your lease and thereby offset the demand for the bonus repayment. Unfortunately neither NY nor Texas have an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in employment agreements, so that won't help you.

Ultimately, I think that a court in NY would take jurisdiction over this issue since that is where you were when you entered into the agreement and where you worked from. So, I would encourage you to take all of the paperwork that you have to a local employment law attorney and have them look over it. They might suggest that they write a letter to the employer and try to negotiate this bonus repayment away, using some argument related to what I mentioned.

It really isn't ethical what they did, but the legal argument is not as strong on your behalf. But you still should explore it.

Please let me know if you have any specific follow up questions. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the response, it was very helpful and I have already engaged a local employment attorney to draft such a letter.


 


One final question for you, if I just go silent, not return any calls or correspondence, might this just taper off naturally? They don't have a local presence and it's a medical device company, they typically don't want any negative press as an industry. They continue to ask for my signed resignation letter which I refuse to sign based on the inaccurate reasons for termination. I have returned all company property and they owe me a balance for final two weeks salary plus unused vacation. My preference is to just go silent versus involve legal, my understanding is that sign on bonuses or relocation bonuses are rarely forced to be paid back. Thoughts?

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome. If you do nothing here, there are a couple of negative results that could occur. They deduct your sign on bonus from your wages, which they may do anyway, or they turn the "debt" over to collections and it goes downhill from there. Those are the worst case scenarios. I can't say what this company will do, but I am not sure I would just completely ignore their demands. I agree that you shouldn't sign a resignation letter since they are letting you go, but not sure I would ignore demands for money.
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 16970
Experience: Licensed Attorney with 28 yrs. exp in Employment Law
Marsha411JD and 9 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I must thank you all for such a positive and knowledgeable Expert in your Employment Law category. She has provided much relief and answers for me in the midst of dealing with a case. I am totally pleased with her customer service and care. Mildred Washington, DC
< Last | Next >
  • I must thank you all for such a positive and knowledgeable Expert in your Employment Law category. She has provided much relief and answers for me in the midst of dealing with a case. I am totally pleased with her customer service and care. Mildred Washington, DC
  • Excellent direction from Socrateaser to help me preserve and pursue my rights as a proud American who has become unemployed in this messed-up economic downfall. Thank you Happy Customer Denver, CO
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    7759
    JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    7759
    JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/marshadjd/2009-6-1_194320_marshajd.jpg Marsha411JD's Avatar

    Marsha411JD

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    10539
    Licensed Attorney with 27 yrs. exp in Employment Law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/NY/nyclawyer/2012-6-7_22011_photo66139201112041.64x64.jpg Infolawyer's Avatar

    Infolawyer

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    9785
    Licensed attorney helping employers and employees.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/jaccorpsesq/2011-11-13_21141_JAnewphoto.64x64.jpg Allen M., Esq.'s Avatar

    Allen M., Esq.

    Employment Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    9429
    Employment/Labor Law Litigation
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MI/MILawyer/2011-2-28_0311_JBUprofile.64x64.jpg JB Umphrey's Avatar

    JB Umphrey

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    6273
    Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TU/TUSA/2012-6-6_55219_test.64x64.png Thoreau (T-USA)'s Avatar

    Thoreau (T-USA)

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2469
    Attorney
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2214
    I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.