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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.
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I'm a RN who was sponsored from UK by a US based recruitment

Customer Question

I'm a RN who was sponsored from UK by a US based recruitment agency on a 2yr contract with a hospital. The job was going great and agency was very supportive. But on 08/21/15 someone discharged his weapon into our home and this has totally traumatized my family and I, I have requested relocating to another facility since this time and they have said that they have been looking, however, this whole event is taking a toll on my health and my family life, which I have told them. Anyway, when my son's school had a lock down last Monda
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

My apologies but your question was cut off. How can I help you, please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I told them I can't wait for the to find me a new assignment as we dint feel safe. They are asking me to pay them $45,000 as I will be breaching my contract. I don't have this money. What can I do
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have asked for a payment plan, they say I have to pay 50% up front then the remaining can be done on a plan - they know I'm not just walking out because I want to, but I can hardly function at work because of this issue. I feel like they are forcing me to stay in the situation cause they know I don't have that kind if money since we've only just moved to the States from the U.K.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I do apologize for the delay, I am working on your question as we speak.

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

If I may ask, is this $45,000 listed in your contract as liquidated damages amount in case of breach?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it is
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The $45,000 liquidation is a part of the original contract, but someone firing into our home for unknown reason then later claiming it was accidental was not something we anticipated.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

I can understand that. Final question, I promise. Was this a private home that you rented, or was this provided to you by the employer? Is this employer-provided housing?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This is a private rental property which was researched and chosen by myself and my employer. I must say that we are a minority in this location in general, which is why we are extremely fearful about what has happened
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Okay, I am going to have to give you an answer that is unfavorable, so kindly do not blame the messenger if the answer is not as you hoped. This answer is based on US employment law, which is not as potentially progressive as UK law or other European nations.

The reason I asked about housing is because the employer in the US is generally not responsible as to what happens to you outside their physical location. An argument can be made that they share some liability if they provided housing. In a situation where you found housing yourself, you are personally responsible for that decision, which means that you cannot use this incident as a legitimate basis for terminating your obligation to your employer. The employer has a right to hold you to the terms, and unless the contract expressly has a clause against assaults or threats off-site or other reasons for termination, you are bound by the agreement. Likewise if the agreement expressly lists a set amount for 'liquidated damages', and you breach, you are responsible for such a fee unless you can prove and show that the amount is 'unconscionable' and extremely unreasonable. That I cannot answer as far as a good argument purely because I do not know how much training or expenses the employer put forth toward you, as that is really the basis under which they figure out costs and whether or not the liquidated damage provision is reasonable.

Likewise an employer under US law has a duty to provide you with 'reasonable accommodations' only in cases of disability or impairment. As this took place off-site, the argument that you were unsafe would not work because the work environment itself is safe. In addition, even under the employer's duty, the obligation is for a 'reasonable' accommodation, which means that if the employer cannot justify moving you elsewhere as it would be too expensive or otherwise unreasonable, they are not in violation of law.

This therefore leaves you with three choices. You can attempt to negotiate and have them agree to waive that clause. This is unlikely but it can be tried. You can continue to work as you are doing now. Or you can quit but then be prepared to pay the amount back based on the language under contract. Under this option you can elect to go to court and try to fight it but my concern is that you may still lose and you would have additional attorney fees as expenses as well.

Sincerely,

Dimitry, Esq.