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Return relocation expenses after bait and switch in Massachusetts

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  • Return relocation expenses after bait and switch in Massachusetts

    Hi all

    I have a question regarding whether or not relocation expenses can be legitimately claimed back by a company, if the employee is now in a different role, not which the employee was hired nor trained nor experienced, and that the employee has ended up in this new role by less than fair circumstances….the long (and maybe a bit complicated) version follows:

    I was hired and relocated to perform a specific function for a company. After 6 months, a supervisor in a different department approached me and asked if I would be interested in switching departments. I said that I would help him 50% of the time, and maintain my current functions 50% of the time. To make sure that my original role didn’t suffer, he said that I could hire an assistant. It was told to me that this was approved by the section head (section head = everybody’s boss). My fisrt supervisor had no issue with this. I began my search for the assistant. After a week, I began to get resistance from the people whose budget would be funding the assistant position, although they would be using the assistant’s services, just not supervising said assistant. This resistance lasted for 6 weeks, until I was informed that I could no longer hire the assistant. Recall that this was approved by everybody's boss. I was also informed that the new 50% supervisor needed me 100% of the time. After trying to be the team player, I find that I am not happy as this is something for which I have neither training nor expertise. Moreover, it is now becoming clear that this may become a career liability for any potential future positions. I tried to talk to both my supervisor and the section head in a meeting, but my new supervisor cancelled the meeting behind my back. I was left to tell my new supervisor my concerns. He told me he would talk to the section head, but that I should keep focused and positive on the new role. After he spoke with the section head, he said I was effectively being put on “notice” and that my attitude needs serious adjustment. I haven’t had any meeting with HR regarding being on “notice”; an empty threat I think.

    So, needless to say, I want to leave. I feel trapped, however, because I signed an agreement to repay my relocation expenses if I voluntarily left within 2 years. The way I look at it, I would not have relocated to be in this role, and I feel like I was largely bullied into this position. So why should I pay them back for something I didn't sign on to, and when I agreed to come half-way, they pushed me all the way....

    Any input would be appreciated…..

  • #2
    You will have to show the relocation agreement to a local attorney. We cannot comment on the enforceability of an agreement we haven't read, and there is nothing in the law that automatically voids an agreement under the circumstances you describe.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


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