Am I obligated to pay my sign on bonus back?

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Am I obligated to pay my sign on bonus back?

I received a sign on bonus for 3,000 with the agreement to stay on for 3 years.
However, after 8 weeks on the job I received notice that they cut the program I
was hired on for. I decided to give my 2 weeks notice and find another job on my
own instead of filing for unemployment. On my exit interview they asked for the
full amount back. I tried negotiating a lesser amount but they seem adamant.
However, I still have not been given details on the repayment plan as I
requested. Are there other options? Or further recommendations? I am worried
about income being reported accurately and ramifications if I do not pay it back,
especially if I don’t receive further notice of repayment details.

Asked on July 15, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You say that you received a sign-on bonus with the agreement to remain employed with your company for a period of 3 years. Was this agreement in writing? What were its exact terms? What, if anythig was stated in regards to repayment if you left the company's employ prior to 3 years? If there was no language regarding repayment, then you are not legally obligated to pay the bonus back. However, if repayment was discussed, then you must bide by when and how you agreed to repay.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Actually, you would only need to repay it if there was a repayment agreement in place, requiring repayment under these circumstances. If there is such an agreement, you need to repay however the agreement says; but in the absence of an agreement, you are under no obligation to repay.


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