Can an employer in Nebraska compel an employee to repay 5,000 for the cost of a certification training should the employee choose to leave the company in a year post training?

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Can an employer in Nebraska compel an employee to repay 5,000 for the cost of a certification training should the employee choose to leave the company in a year post training?

I’m being forced to attend a training ‘bootcamp’ for a week in August to
prepare for a certification test. Due to a visual disability, I believe I will
fail and wish not to participate. The employer wants me to ‘try’. Should I do
so, I will be indentured for a period of 1-year post training and be forced to
repay the cost of the training for the test I will fail meaning no promotion,
no raise because of my disability. It’s too much too fast, I just can’t keep
up with these crazy ‘bootcamp’ training ‘classes’. I must learn at my own
pace. Nor do I want to go into a no-win scenario and fail the test, not good
for the ego. I simply wish to pass and stay at the level I am, which is where
I’ll be after I fail. The employer, I feel, simply wants to indenture the
staff in an attempt to stem the abhorrent turnover.

Bottom line in Nebraska can such an agreement be enforced should I leave?

Thanks.

Asked on June 8, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Nebraska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, such an agreement can be enforced. While you may feel that you are being forced to do this, in the law's eyes, if you enter into the agreement it is voluntary: if the employer tells you that must do something, and either implicitly or explicitlly makes clear that you will lose you job if you don't, that presents you with a choice: either agree to this, or look for other employment. Since employment is employment at will (unless you have a written employment contract to the contrary), you have no rights in or to your job--you may be terminated if you don't do what your employer asks, and your employer can require training like this as a condition of employment. Even though you therefore could lose your job (or be demoted, etc.), again, in the law's eyes, that is a voluntary choice: look for other employment, or agree to the terms of this employment. Therefore, if you agree to do this, you will be held to what you agreed to.


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