Will I need to pay my employer back for non-recoverable comp paid if I leave before 12 months?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Will I need to pay my employer back for non-recoverable comp paid if I leave before 12 months?

Kind of a complicated set of events in general. Please ask questions if
anything is not clear.

Basically…when I left my previous company my new employer offered me a draw.
The first 3 months of my employment they paid me 10k per month 30k total in
commission as a recoverable draw. They admitted that because of some business
reasons, they offered to extend that draw to the next 3 months April – June.
When they did this they had us both sign an addendum to my offer letter that
converted the first three months to non-recoverable and then the final 3 months
to recoverable. I sold enough in Q2 to cover the recoverable draw.

I’m considering moving on from my current employer for various
reasons…however the agreement had some statements about requiring to pay back
draw if I left prior to 12 months. Some of these statements in the
documentation do not make sense. They were poorly written and I should have
scrutinized them more. I however didn’t have much choice at the time.

The issue i’m having is non-recoverable by nature isn’t paid back. Hence it’s
name. However the agreement seems to state otherwise. It contains language
that says — ‘the Employee will be responsible for any outstanding Recoverable
Draw and Non-Recoverable Draw balances on the date of termination.’ However
non-recoverable draws don’t contain balances.

Can you let me know if this seems as though I could move on from my current
employer without having to pay back any of the draw since I’ve covered the

Asked on September 18, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Contracts are governed by their plain terms--by what the contract says. The only way to get a definitive answer about whether, when, and how much you might have to repay is to bring a copy of the contract to an attorney who  can review it with you. The contract as a whole must be read, since a clause or provision in one place can be subject to an exception or be modified or superceded under some condition by a different provision. 

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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