Am I liable to return advanced money to a previous employer?

UPDATED: Jun 11, 2009

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Am I liable to return advanced money to a previous employer?

My fiance was contracted to work (commission only) for a cabinetry company, who agreed to advance her $3000/mo against future commissions. needless to say she did not enjoy the job, or her employer very much. After 3.5 months, she decided to leave and find another job, and she was successful. Now the previous employer is saying he will sue her if she does not return the advanced money. I reviewed her contract and found no language that explicitly states that advanced money needed to be returned upon termination of the contract. Is she liable for returning the money?

Asked on June 11, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

Your fiance should take the contract to a lawyer to read in its entirety.  The advance was against "future commissions."  Did she earn any commissions?  There are too many questions that need to be asked and answered and the agreement needs to be read as well.  Although you found no explicit language there may be implied language or conditions that need to have been met for her to keep the money (like actually earning the commission!)  Don't wait until her employer actually sues her, which he most likely will.

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