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Repaying sign-on bonus Indiana

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  • Repaying sign-on bonus Indiana

    Good morning,

    I have a question for the experts here, as I am debating leaving my current company for a competing offer.
    I was given a sign-on bonus for my current position in lieu of paying relocation costs. This sign-on bonus came with the restrictions listed below. I started this job in May of 2016, and love where I am at. Unfortunately the company took a turn for the worse a few months after I started, and laid-off a significant number of employees. Those employees were given 5-minutes notice, and minimal severance pay. I would happily stay-put if I had any sense of job security, but it is tough to pass up a competitive job offer given the state of the company.

    My question is this - could I successfully argue that the significant decline in the internal climate constitutes "Good Reason" per the definition below?
    It doesn't seem to me that the failure of the company is covered here, but I don't know if this sort of thing could be argued with any likelihood of success. It hardly seems fair to be bound by golden handcuffs until the moment I am considered expendable and laid-off or the company fails entirely. But, I also realize that employment law is not always going to be "fair" to all parties.
    I am also curious if there are any legal holes in the section I put in bold italics below, as it seems to be stating "25 months or less of employment requires 0% repayment," but I may be grasping at straws there.


    "If you terminate your employment without Good Reason or are
    terminated by the Company for Cause prior to Wednesday, May 16, 2018, you will be required to
    repay the Company the gross amount of sign-on expenses paid or reimbursed pursuant to this Section,
    according to the following repayment schedule:
     0 months to <12 months of employment with the Company, 100% repayment
     13 months to <24 months of employment with the Company, 50% repayment
    25 months or < of employment with the Company, 0% repayment

    For purposes hereof, the term 'Good Reason' shall mean one or more of the following conditions
    arising without your consent: (i) a material diminution in your base compensation; or (ii) a material
    diminution in your authority, duties, or responsibilities. To be entitled to terminate your employment
    for Good Reason, you must (i) provide written notice to the Company of the event or change you
    consider constitutes �Good Reason� within 30 calendar days following its occurrence, (ii) provide the
    Company with a period of at least 30 calendar days to cure the event or change, and (iii) if the Good
    Reason persists following the cure period, actually"

    Thank you all for your advice.

    -Jay

  • #2
    Has your pay been reduced?

    Has your authority, duties, or responsibilities been reduced?

    I ask because those are the only two reason in the agreement.

    I think you would have mentioned if your pay had been reduced and with the layoff of other employees your duties and responsibilities have probably increased not decreased.

    As for "25 months or < of employment with the Company, 0% repayment" that is clearly a typo and I doubt it would be a good defense in court because they would ask you under oath if your though that meant less than 25 months you would have to pay back nothing.
    Last edited by Payroll Guy; 04-10-2017, 12:02 PM.

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    • #3
      There functionally is no law regarding conditional wage payments. You need to take the agreement to a local attorney who will actually have to read it. The exact same agreement would not be treated the same in all 50 states because contract law (what we are talking about) is very state specific.

      I am not an IN contract law specialist. To my knowledge, no one on this website is. I can say with certainty that all documents need to looked at, including any company documents. Taking words from one document is legally meaningless.
      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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      • #4
        Not the question, but your employer is an idiot. If they had instead "lent" you the money and conditionally forgiven the loan, the process would be legally bullet proof if done correctly. Whether you have a case now this minute is only an issue because your employer stupidly left the door open (maybe).
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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