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Unfortunately, such agreements are generally enforceable. That said, $3,100 is probably not that much money to your son's employer, and it would cost time and money for them to pursue a lawsuit, which would be the only way they can collect the penalty. This means your son has some leverage to negotiate a reduced payment amount, or a payment plan. Your son could even refuse to make any payment at all and force his employer to file a lawsuit. Regrettably, though, due to the enforceability of this sort of agreement, it is very unlikely that someone in your son's situation can convince a court he has no legal obligation to pay.
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