What to do if I signed a contract for tuition reimbursement from my current employer and now they are manipulating the factstin order to get me to pay them back?

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What to do if I signed a contract for tuition reimbursement from my current employer and now they are manipulating the factstin order to get me to pay them back?

This contract stated that if I left voluntarily or was terminated for cause within a year, I would have to pay back the tuition. I recently turned in my resignation with my last day of work after my year is up. My company accepted my resignation, but changed my final day to keep me within a year and are now requiring me to pay back the full amount. Is this worth fighting?

Asked on December 7, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You would most likely lose if you fought, based on what you write:

1) An employer does not have to honor advance notice (e.g. a month, which is unusually long notice anyway)--it can treat your resignation as effective immediately, for example, upon receipt.

2) If you turned in notice in advance that you are leaving just after it is too late to recover the tuition reimbursement, a court could easily conclude you violated the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in that you did not treat in good faith with your employer--you took advantage of them to get your tuition paid for; such a violation constitutes a breach of the contract, and would require you to repay the money.

For future reference: do not resign until some time *after* you have already escaped a repayment period or vested for a benefit.


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