What to do if at hire I was told my employer would pay for my masters but now it’s reneging on that promise?

UPDATED: Jun 24, 2015

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What to do if at hire I was told my employer would pay for my masters but now it’s reneging on that promise?

It’s also in the employee handbook that any employee will be reimbursed for tuition after a year of employment. Now that it has been a year and a half, my employer is claiming that the procedure changed and that I no longer qualify for reimbursement. This has not been shown to me in writing. The reimbursement was a key deciding factor in me choosing this job which I had to sell my house and relocate to. Is there any way this is legal?

Asked on June 24, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Employers may change their police about reimbursement at any time. However, if the employer--

1) Promised you reimbursement before taking the job;

2) That promise was a key or material factor in you taking the job;

3) The employer knew (e.g. because you told them), or logically must have known from the facts, that you would do something signficant to your detriment (like relocating and selling a house) in order to take advantage of the promise and what the promise was made to get you to do (i.e. take the job);

4) and you did do something significant to your job in reliance on that promise

--then you may be able to hold the promise enforceable under the doctrine of "promisssory estoppel." Of course to do this, you'd have to sue your employer, and suing an employer should never be done lightly. You are advised to speak with an attorney in detail about the situation, to fully understand all the ramifications, etc., before acting.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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