Can my employer require me to pay back training costs?

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Can my employer require me to pay back training costs?

My employer is in new jersey, but I am in Virginia. I had signed a training agreement with the stipulations that I would work for them for a year or have a specified fine to reimburse training costs. After working with them for a few months, I’ve become very uncomfortable with their business practices, and would like to get out. Some facts about the contract are that most of the training was provided in house, by their own trainer. He is available for all employees to take advantage of if they need help the contract does itemize what the training was and their cost. The training was for general skills not specific to the employer but they required the training in order to be hired.

Asked on August 25, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The "details" about the training do not matter: all that matters are the terms of the agreement you signed. In signing it, you contractually obligated yourself to its terms--i.e. you have to do whatever it says. Based on what you write, that means if you leave before the year is up, you will have to pay the specified amount to them. Contractual cases like this are very clear: if you don't comply, they can sue you and will very likely (indeed, almost certainly) win and get a court judgment against you for the money.
It also does not matter that you had to undergo the training to be hired: you could have chosen to not sign and seek other employment. In choosing to sign to get this job, you bound yourself to the contract.


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