Author Topic: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance  (Read 35167 times)

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2016, 10:55:43 AM »
Aside from cc'ing my former director on the initial email I sent out, I just sent her a LinkedIn message asking if she would vouch for me having known more closely the details of the circumstances I (and everyone else affected) was in. She seems like a reasonable person, so I'll see what she comes back with. Part of me thinks she's probably going to agree and side with the company (perhaps for fear of not looking bad if she starts trying to pull strings to drop the request?). I figure it's worth a shot. If not, I may go ahead and ask for a reduction in the request.

I consulted with my lawyer friend and she agrees with you, LeRainDrop, that there isn't really any recourse here. Especially if I tell her about the wording that you pointed out as well, she'll likely double-confirm that I can't really do anything about it. Guess I'm likely looking at a full or reduced payment and tax-writeoff. I know a lot of you say this is the negotiation phase but based on what has been pointed out by several here already, it seems that trying to argue and convince them on the point would be pretty fruitless.

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #51 on: January 18, 2016, 11:19:04 AM »
So I'm planning to draft another response email to the HR director who replied to me. Do you guys think I should ask again, at a more personal level and seeking empathy, for her to push towards dropping their request?

Or should I just try to get them to accept a partial payment (perhaps prorated)? Would it be fair to ask if they prorate based on the amount due divided by 12 months X the number of months that would be left by me leaving? (e.g. tuition assistance is $4600, out of the 12 months per policy I had only worked 4 before leaving, which leaves 8 months. So 8 months of prorated tution is about $3066.)
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 11:26:15 AM by jplee3 »

Jack

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #52 on: January 18, 2016, 01:09:09 PM »
You can also determine if they want to win the money from you and lose the business in the court of public opinion. . . . Populist politicians might like to hear your story and take up the cause with legislation that would prevent it in the future.

Interesting - I wonder how I would get my story out there though... it seems like this isn't an uncommon scenario and that most people probably wouldn't care or bother to care.

Yeah, this type of policy surrounding tuition assistance is really pretty common.  The idea is that the employer will invest in your development (1) to foster your loyalty to the company, and (2) so that the employer can benefit from your new or improved skills.  But if the employer pays for that and then you quickly hit the road, they are not getting the very benefit that made them willing to pay in the first place.  That's why they build in this option to recover the tuition from the former employee.  But like the HR person somewhere else in this thread said, many companies wouldn't actually follow through to demand repayment.

Here's the trouble: he didn't "quickly hit the road," the company kicked him to the curb. Because of that, it's the company's own damn fault that they made the choice to throw away the benefit of his new or improved skills. Surely that fact should trigger some kind of estoppel or allow an "unclean hands" argument, or something!

Any judge that doesn't see it that way should be removed from the bench, regardless of the bullshit legal weaseling argued.

Leaving all that aside, what would have been the OP's right move under the circumstances?
  • He can't retroactively decide not to have taken the course
  • He can't quit, because that apparently triggers repayment
  • He can't wait to get laid off, because the layoff date is still less than a year from when the class was taken, and that severance agreement might make the separation "voluntary" too.
What's he supposed to do, stop doing his work and get fired for cause?

LeRainDrop

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #53 on: January 18, 2016, 01:28:10 PM »
Here's the trouble: he didn't "quickly hit the road," the company kicked him to the curb. Because of that, it's the company's own damn fault that they made the choice to throw away the benefit of his new or improved skills. Surely that fact should trigger some kind of estoppel or allow an "unclean hands" argument, or something!

Any judge that doesn't see it that way should be removed from the bench, regardless of the bullshit legal weaseling argued.

I very strongly disagree with your view.  It's a close to sure thing that the former employer would actually win on summary judgment if they went so far as to sue him.  The law on these points is very well-established, and former employer did a good job locking this stuff into the contract.

TheInsuranceMan

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #54 on: January 18, 2016, 01:29:49 PM »
I had to repay mine to my past employer, but I left voluntarily and knew I'd have to repay. 

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #55 on: January 18, 2016, 01:34:10 PM »
You can also determine if they want to win the money from you and lose the business in the court of public opinion. . . . Populist politicians might like to hear your story and take up the cause with legislation that would prevent it in the future.

Interesting - I wonder how I would get my story out there though... it seems like this isn't an uncommon scenario and that most people probably wouldn't care or bother to care.

Yeah, this type of policy surrounding tuition assistance is really pretty common.  The idea is that the employer will invest in your development (1) to foster your loyalty to the company, and (2) so that the employer can benefit from your new or improved skills.  But if the employer pays for that and then you quickly hit the road, they are not getting the very benefit that made them willing to pay in the first place.  That's why they build in this option to recover the tuition from the former employee.  But like the HR person somewhere else in this thread said, many companies wouldn't actually follow through to demand repayment.

Here's the trouble: he didn't "quickly hit the road," the company kicked him to the curb. Because of that, it's the company's own damn fault that they made the choice to throw away the benefit of his new or improved skills. Surely that fact should trigger some kind of estoppel or allow an "unclean hands" argument, or something!

Any judge that doesn't see it that way should be removed from the bench, regardless of the bullshit legal weaseling argued.

Leaving all that aside, what would have been the OP's right move under the circumstances?
  • He can't retroactively decide not to have taken the course
  • He can't quit, because that apparently triggers repayment
  • He can't wait to get laid off, because the layoff date is still less than a year from when the class was taken, and that severance agreement might make the separation "voluntary" too.
What's he supposed to do, stop doing his work and get fired for cause?

I agree with everything you say.  But LeRainDrop does make a good point about the wording they used in my original non-contractual/unbinding offer letter that they didn't make us sign. She points out that the wording they used doesn't indicate a "definite" advance termination of my position but that everything about it is "probable" - considering that, it seems that the company could argue (in winning favor) that my voluntary termination was in fact voluntary and that their conditions of employment were only "probable" and "likely"

LeRainDrop

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #56 on: January 18, 2016, 01:40:15 PM »
So I'm planning to draft another response email to the HR director who replied to me. Do you guys think I should ask again, at a more personal level and seeking empathy, for her to push towards dropping their request?

Or should I just try to get them to accept a partial payment (perhaps prorated)? Would it be fair to ask if they prorate based on the amount due divided by 12 months X the number of months that would be left by me leaving? (e.g. tuition assistance is $4600, out of the 12 months per policy I had only worked 4 before leaving, which leaves 8 months. So 8 months of prorated tution is about $3066.)

I would do a combo:  Appeal to empathy and what a hardship this repayment would be.  Argue that you understood the employer had waived the repayment provision because it notified you that you would not be employed for the full year anyway.  Offer the prorated value as a "more than fair" compromise under the circumstances that you'd already been notified of your impending lay-off.  Also ask to spread the payment out over a few months, if that's something that would be helpful to you.  Keep your tone pleasant.  (Reminder that although I am a lawyer, I am not your lawyer and am not providing you legal advice.)
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 01:44:27 PM by LeRainDrop »

Jack

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #57 on: January 18, 2016, 01:46:09 PM »
Here's the trouble: he didn't "quickly hit the road," the company kicked him to the curb. Because of that, it's the company's own damn fault that they made the choice to throw away the benefit of his new or improved skills. Surely that fact should trigger some kind of estoppel or allow an "unclean hands" argument, or something!

Any judge that doesn't see it that way should be removed from the bench, regardless of the bullshit legal weaseling argued.

I very strongly disagree with your view.  It's a close to sure thing that the former employer would actually win on summary judgment if they went so far as to sue him.  The law on these points is very well-established, and former employer did a good job locking this stuff into the contract.

This is why people hate lawyers: they get so fucking caught up in what's "legal" and "well-established," that they lose track of what's "equitable" and "fair" and "right!"

When you say "disagree with my view" you might have meant it as "disagree with the idea that a judge would side with jplee3," [in reality] but the idea you actually conveyed was "disagree with the idea that a judge should side with jplee3" [in an ideal world] and that's just fucked up.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 01:50:44 PM by Jack »

LeRainDrop

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #58 on: January 18, 2016, 02:06:05 PM »
Here's the trouble: he didn't "quickly hit the road," the company kicked him to the curb. Because of that, it's the company's own damn fault that they made the choice to throw away the benefit of his new or improved skills. Surely that fact should trigger some kind of estoppel or allow an "unclean hands" argument, or something!

Any judge that doesn't see it that way should be removed from the bench, regardless of the bullshit legal weaseling argued.

I very strongly disagree with your view.  It's a close to sure thing that the former employer would actually win on summary judgment if they went so far as to sue him.  The law on these points is very well-established, and former employer did a good job locking this stuff into the contract.

This is why people hate lawyers: they get so fucking caught up in what's "legal" and "well-established," that they lose track of what's "equitable" and "fair" and "right!"

When you say "disagree with my view" you might have meant it as "disagree with the idea that a judge would side with jplee3," [in reality] but the idea you actually conveyed was "disagree with the idea that a judge should side with jplee3" [in an ideal world] and that's just fucked up.

Oh, sorry, to clarify -- I think it is really shitty of the employer to go after jplee3 for this repayment.  They should have just let it go.  However, I do think that any judge is very likely to rule in favor of the former employer on summary judgment because there is a written and signed contract regarding repayment that seems to be perfectly clear.  jplee3 agreed to those terms.  jplee3 also voluntarily left that employer.  Again, I totally understand why he did it, but the fact is that he did leave voluntarily.  The judge's job is to apply the law to the facts -- that is his legal and ethical responsibility.  So, I think any judge doing his job correctly (based on the facts currently listed in this thread) would rule in favor of the former employer.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #59 on: January 18, 2016, 02:11:15 PM »
This is why people hate lawyers: they get so fucking caught up in what's "legal" and "well-established," that they lose track of what's "equitable" and "fair" and "right!"

There absolutely is an important role for fairness and equity in the law!  That is a huge part of it!  I just really don't think that has a chance of modifying the outcome for jplee3 under the facts that he has shared here.  By the way, a lawyer's job is not to tell clients what we would like the law to be -- we have to advise them of the actual risks (i.e., what will the judge do when he applies the law to the facts) and then, based on the client's decision, be the best advocate for that position as we ethically can.

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #60 on: January 18, 2016, 02:13:58 PM »
So I'm planning to draft another response email to the HR director who replied to me. Do you guys think I should ask again, at a more personal level and seeking empathy, for her to push towards dropping their request?

Or should I just try to get them to accept a partial payment (perhaps prorated)? Would it be fair to ask if they prorate based on the amount due divided by 12 months X the number of months that would be left by me leaving? (e.g. tuition assistance is $4600, out of the 12 months per policy I had only worked 4 before leaving, which leaves 8 months. So 8 months of prorated tution is about $3066.)

I would do a combo:  Appeal to empathy and what a hardship this repayment would be.  Argue that you understood the employer had waived the repayment provision because it notified you that you would not be employed for the full year anyway.  Offer the prorated value as a "more than fair" compromise under the circumstances that you'd already been notified of your impending lay-off.  Also ask to spread the payment out over a few months, if that's something that would be helpful to you.  Keep your tone pleasant.  (Reminder that although I am a lawyer, I am not your lawyer and am not providing you legal advice.)

Thanks! I'm planning to do this across a couple emails. First email would be asking, again, for them to reconsider given the circumstances (I would not have been employed for another full year anyway, and this would have been an exception made per their policy upon notifying me of that termination, etc). I also mentioned how this would bring upon much hardship especially having had our first child recently.

Then if they reject it again, I'll follow-up with the "more than fair" offer to repay a prorated amount and perhaps via a repayment plan. We'll see how this goes.

Jack

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #61 on: January 18, 2016, 02:39:39 PM »
Oh, sorry, to clarify -- I think it is really shitty of the employer to go after jplee3 for this repayment.  They should have just let it go.  However, I do think that any judge is very likely to rule in favor of the former employer on summary judgment because there is a written and signed contract regarding repayment that seems to be perfectly clear.  jplee3 agreed to those terms.  jplee3 also voluntarily left that employer.  Again, I totally understand why he did it, but the fact is that he did leave voluntarily.  The judge's job is to apply the law to the facts -- that is his legal and ethical responsibility.  So, I think any judge doing his job correctly (based on the facts currently listed in this thread) would rule in favor of the former employer.

I don't doubt that you're right about how a judge would rule, but I still object to the "fact" of jplee3's separation being characterized as "voluntary." It's as if that word has acquired some sort of alternate legal-jargon definition that's divorced from its common meaning. I mean, jplee3 leaving his employer was as "voluntary" as handing over a wallet to a mugger in lieu of getting shot; the only difference is he did it sooner than the mugger demanded.

I also object to the contract provision that jplee3 would automatically be held liable for the company's costs in the event that he lost the litigation -- that entire category of clauses should be held unconscionable and void for all contracts, everywhere.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 02:41:15 PM by Jack »

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #62 on: January 18, 2016, 02:42:48 PM »
Oh, sorry, to clarify -- I think it is really shitty of the employer to go after jplee3 for this repayment.  They should have just let it go.  However, I do think that any judge is very likely to rule in favor of the former employer on summary judgment because there is a written and signed contract regarding repayment that seems to be perfectly clear.  jplee3 agreed to those terms.  jplee3 also voluntarily left that employer.  Again, I totally understand why he did it, but the fact is that he did leave voluntarily.  The judge's job is to apply the law to the facts -- that is his legal and ethical responsibility.  So, I think any judge doing his job correctly (based on the facts currently listed in this thread) would rule in favor of the former employer.

I don't doubt that you're right about how a judge would rule, but I still object to the "fact" of jplee3's separation being characterized as "voluntary." It's as if that word has acquired some sort of alternate legal-jargon definition that's divorced from its common meaning. I mean, jplee3 leaving his employer was as "voluntary" as handing over a wallet to a mugger in lieu of getting shot; the only difference is he did it sooner than the mugger demanded.

I also object to the contract provision that jplee3 would automatically be held liable for the company's costs in the event that he lost the litigation -- that entire category of clauses should be held unconscionable and void for all contracts, everywhere.

lol...loving the the mugger analogy.

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #63 on: January 18, 2016, 03:40:32 PM »
The HR director replied and shot me down again on my second request:

"The tuition repayment would have been waived had you stayed at XXX through June 23rd, 2016.  Since you chose to leave voluntarily in December, you will owe XXX the cost for your training that took place in July and August of the same year."

They're definitely holding their ground. I just replied, asking that if they won't consider a waiver, if they'll prorate the amount according to how much time I had left. I actually only had 10 months from August when I was repaid. So I calculated a prorated amount based on the full tuition cost divided by 10. Then multiplied that by the 6 months that were left until June from the last day of employment (12/30/2015) and rounded up. If they refuse even this it's going to leave the worst taste in my mouth...

LeRainDrop

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #64 on: January 18, 2016, 03:47:58 PM »
The HR director replied and shot me down again on my second request:

"The tuition repayment would have been waived had you stayed at XXX through June 23rd, 2016.  Since you chose to leave voluntarily in December, you will owe XXX the cost for your training that took place in July and August of the same year."

They're definitely holding their ground. I just replied, asking that if they won't consider a waiver, if they'll prorate the amount according to how much time I had left. I actually only had 10 months from August when I was repaid. So I calculated a prorated amount based on the full tuition cost divided by 10. Then multiplied that by the 6 months that were left until June from the last day of employment (12/30/2015) and rounded up. If they refuse even this it's going to leave the worst taste in my mouth...

I'm sorry, jplee3.  That really sucks.  Wishing you luck with your most recent email!

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #65 on: January 18, 2016, 03:52:27 PM »
The HR director replied and shot me down again on my second request:

"The tuition repayment would have been waived had you stayed at XXX through June 23rd, 2016.  Since you chose to leave voluntarily in December, you will owe XXX the cost for your training that took place in July and August of the same year."

They're definitely holding their ground. I just replied, asking that if they won't consider a waiver, if they'll prorate the amount according to how much time I had left. I actually only had 10 months from August when I was repaid. So I calculated a prorated amount based on the full tuition cost divided by 10. Then multiplied that by the 6 months that were left until June from the last day of employment (12/30/2015) and rounded up. If they refuse even this it's going to leave the worst taste in my mouth...

I'm sorry, jplee3.  That really sucks.  Wishing you luck with your most recent email!

I'll be more upset that I wasted 5 minutes doing the math on all that and having to explain it....!!! lol it really looks like I'll have a 2015 tax write-off coming. blahhh

lhamo

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #66 on: January 18, 2016, 07:01:16 PM »
Yeah, it sucks. But keep in mind you did give a very short notice and spent much of the last few weeks of your time at the company on paid leave.  That might be one reason they are sticking you with this.  Not that it is what a good company would do.  But I think their actions have already shown that they are not a good company.

Hope you are enjoying your new position, and that the move turns out to be good for you and your family.

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #67 on: January 18, 2016, 07:32:02 PM »
Yeah, it sucks. But keep in mind you did give a very short notice and spent much of the last few weeks of your time at the company on paid leave.  That might be one reason they are sticking you with this.  Not that it is what a good company would do.  But I think their actions have already shown that they are not a good company.

Hope you are enjoying your new position, and that the move turns out to be good for you and your family.

My notice was just under the 'standard two-weeks' (I definitely wouldn't call it 'very short' by any means) - and I went out of my way (while still on break) to go in and give notice to my former director in person, so that should have been ample time. Plus, it was at the end of the year when things are pretty dead regardless, and I made sure to preemptively transition all my stuff off prior to all this going down, so there really was nothing left for me to do during my last few days there (I assured the director of this and she was totally fine with everything and didn't give me hassle or micromanage my departure and handing off stuff). They really shouldn't have anything to fuss over and are certainly playing the part of "sore loser" (and bullying me around with all the legal crap too) - I'm sure a lot of it has to do with 'housekeeping' before the pending closure of the big deal coming up. I figure they could probably care less what their reputation is going into it, and are scrounging for money however and wherever they can. On that note, even if I gave them much earlier notice than I did, I don't think that would have changed their stance on seeking out the tuition assistance from me, since I still would have "voluntarily terminated" my employment within the year.

I hope the new position will turn out well as well (obviously, lol)... I think it's still too soon to tell (we especially won't have a good gauge until my parents leave and my wife goes SAHM full time which is February). Most of all, I just want to get past this with the old company - it's like breaking up with the psycho girlfriend who won't let go... not that I've been through this, but I was just reminded of one of my buddies' past experiences (the girl keyed his car all the way around and he ended up having to get a restraining order against her...!!!)
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 08:00:35 PM by jplee3 »

lhamo

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #68 on: January 18, 2016, 08:31:22 PM »
I guess two weeks is standard, but in my line of work a month is typical (and was required by both of my previous employers).

I hear you about psycho breakups though.  Both of mine were pretty painful. 

Can't quite believe I just submitted another job application.  Seriously hoping they don't call me....

LeRainDrop

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #69 on: January 18, 2016, 08:49:12 PM »
I'm sure a lot of it has to do with 'housekeeping' before the pending closure of the big deal coming up. I figure they could probably care less what their reputation is going into it, and are scrounging for money however and wherever they can. On that note, even if I gave them much earlier notice than I did, I don't think that would have changed their stance on seeking out the tuition assistance from me, since I still would have "voluntarily terminated" my employment within the year.

Probably all very true.

Quote
Most of all, I just want to get past this with the old company - it's like breaking up with the psycho girlfriend who won't let go...

LOL, great comparison!  Congrats on the new baby and the new job :-)

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #70 on: January 18, 2016, 09:19:16 PM »
I guess two weeks is standard, but in my line of work a month is typical (and was required by both of my previous employers).

I hear you about psycho breakups though.  Both of mine were pretty painful. 

Can't quite believe I just submitted another job application.  Seriously hoping they don't call me....

Wow, a month's notice!? What line of work are you in?

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #71 on: January 18, 2016, 09:23:41 PM »
I'm sure a lot of it has to do with 'housekeeping' before the pending closure of the big deal coming up. I figure they could probably care less what their reputation is going into it, and are scrounging for money however and wherever they can. On that note, even if I gave them much earlier notice than I did, I don't think that would have changed their stance on seeking out the tuition assistance from me, since I still would have "voluntarily terminated" my employment within the year.

Probably all very true.

Quote
Most of all, I just want to get past this with the old company - it's like breaking up with the psycho girlfriend who won't let go...

LOL, great comparison!  Congrats on the new baby and the new job :-)


Apparently there's a collective $147 million on the table for all the execs pending closure of the deal. So I'm sure they're doing everything in their power to close the deal. Even if it means burning many bridges along the way. Why should they care when they'll be bought out soon and a big payout is on the line. I'm sure most of this is driven by petty corporate greed.

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #72 on: January 19, 2016, 12:17:18 AM »
Here's the trouble: he didn't "quickly hit the road," the company kicked him to the curb. Because of that, it's the company's own damn fault that they made the choice to throw away the benefit of his new or improved skills. Surely that fact should trigger some kind of estoppel or allow an "unclean hands" argument, or something!

Any judge that doesn't see it that way should be removed from the bench, regardless of the bullshit legal weaseling argued.

I very strongly disagree with your view.  It's a close to sure thing that the former employer would actually win on summary judgment if they went so far as to sue him.  The law on these points is very well-established, and former employer did a good job locking this stuff into the contract.

Btw, there would be no way to *not* sign into the contract other than by not accepting employment right? So they basically had me from the start... I'm sure that's how most companies are to protect themselves, but scarcely would you think they'd use the same provisions to bully around and mistreat former employees.

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #73 on: January 19, 2016, 06:51:02 AM »
The HR director replied and shot me down again on my second request:

"The tuition repayment would have been waived had you stayed at XXX through June 23rd, 2016.  Since you chose to leave voluntarily in December, you will owe XXX the cost for your training that took place in July and August of the same year."

They're definitely holding their ground. I just replied, asking that if they won't consider a waiver, if they'll prorate the amount according to how much time I had left. I actually only had 10 months from August when I was repaid. So I calculated a prorated amount based on the full tuition cost divided by 10. Then multiplied that by the 6 months that were left until June from the last day of employment (12/30/2015) and rounded up. If they refuse even this it's going to leave the worst taste in my mouth...

It sounds to me like you should be prepared for a worst taste in your mouth. They seem to be holding very firm to their policy.  Maybe there are a number of people who have a similar circumstance, and therefore bending for you would cost them a lot when other people try to not pay what they owe.

I left an employer knowing I would have to pay back tuition assistance. I weighed heavily whether the amount I would have to repay was worth the having the new job. If I had stayed to not have to repay it, it was possible that new job wouldn't wait for me. So for me, it was worth it.  I've also seen people negotiate for their new job to pay what they owe to leave the old company.  I know you can't go back in time, but there were other things you could have done than just assume it would be forgiven. Why didn't you ask HR before you gave notice you were leaving?

lhamo

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #74 on: January 19, 2016, 07:11:32 AM »
I guess two weeks is standard, but in my line of work a month is typical (and was required by both of my previous employers).

I hear you about psycho breakups though.  Both of mine were pretty painful. 

Can't quite believe I just submitted another job application.  Seriously hoping they don't call me....

Wow, a month's notice!? What line of work are you in?

Non-profit management, but with an international spin.  There is a limited pool of people who can due the kind of work I used to do, largely due to the need for language/cultural competency.  Hiring searches take a long time. 

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #75 on: January 19, 2016, 08:25:56 AM »
The HR director replied and shot me down again on my second request:

"The tuition repayment would have been waived had you stayed at XXX through June 23rd, 2016.  Since you chose to leave voluntarily in December, you will owe XXX the cost for your training that took place in July and August of the same year."

They're definitely holding their ground. I just replied, asking that if they won't consider a waiver, if they'll prorate the amount according to how much time I had left. I actually only had 10 months from August when I was repaid. So I calculated a prorated amount based on the full tuition cost divided by 10. Then multiplied that by the 6 months that were left until June from the last day of employment (12/30/2015) and rounded up. If they refuse even this it's going to leave the worst taste in my mouth...

It sounds to me like you should be prepared for a worst taste in your mouth. They seem to be holding very firm to their policy.  Maybe there are a number of people who have a similar circumstance, and therefore bending for you would cost them a lot when other people try to not pay what they owe.

I left an employer knowing I would have to pay back tuition assistance. I weighed heavily whether the amount I would have to repay was worth the having the new job. If I had stayed to not have to repay it, it was possible that new job wouldn't wait for me. So for me, it was worth it.  I've also seen people negotiate for their new job to pay what they owe to leave the old company.  I know you can't go back in time, but there were other things you could have done than just assume it would be forgiven. Why didn't you ask HR before you gave notice you were leaving?

With everything that happened in terms of the lay-offs and advance terminations, and people looking over their shoulders and worrying, tuition assistance was [if not] the last thing on my mind. I don't think it [worrying about having to pay it back because I would be violating policy by leaving early despite having advance notice] actually ever crossed my mind at that point in time.

I know I can't know for sure but judging by how things are going now, it seems that if I had contacted HR, I would have gotten the same response while putting a target in my back... "hey so I was just wondering, *hypothetically*, if I were to quit early even though I'm on advance notice, is there anything I should be aware of?" lol - it just seems so obvious, and I wouldn't be surprised if I would have been given an even harder time during and after my departure...

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #76 on: January 19, 2016, 08:43:53 AM »

With everything that happened in terms of the lay-offs and advance terminations, and people looking over their shoulders and worrying, tuition assistance was [if not] the last thing on my mind. I don't think it [worrying about having to pay it back because I would be violating policy by leaving early despite having advance notice] actually ever crossed my mind at that point in time.

I know I can't know for sure but judging by how things are going now, it seems that if I had contacted HR, I would have gotten the same response while putting a target in my back... "hey so I was just wondering, *hypothetically*, if I were to quit early even though I'm on advance notice, is there anything I should be aware of?" lol - it just seems so obvious, and I wouldn't be surprised if I would have been given an even harder time during and after my departure...

Yeah, I've been laid off before, with advanced notice, it sucks- there is a lot to worry about.

And it certainly isn't a waste of time to try, and keep trying; it just sounds like you are going to be out of luck here. 

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #77 on: January 19, 2016, 09:32:00 AM »
It sounds like mentally they have convinced you that they are right, you are wrong, and they are demonstrating that they will fight. Your tone has not matched the belief that you do not owe and you will not pay. In fact, in some of your communications, you may have conceded your ability to contest (can't know without seeing it).

I'm a bit troubled in this thread by all the (disclaimer) lawyerly advice/non-advice. I say that as someone who contributed to this. Unless people know your jurisdiction, how courts/judges/mediators/etc. handle these contracts and cases, the advice is NOT particularly helpful. These contracts are written by the employers to trip up employees like you. That doesn't mean that every judge or decision-maker will let the company win. In fact, contract clauses that are disproportionately against you and abused against you often are interpreted in your favor or flat out unenforceable if push comes to shove (which is why they try to bully you into where you are now). That's a big reason many companies now use arbitration, where it is cheaper and more likely they will win versus court system.

I have had my own HR office tell me or colleagues that we don't have rights to things that we DO. And you have to decide whether to fight or not. The hard-line of the company doesn't make it so. It doesn't even mean they will indeed fight if you choose to fight back. It also doesn't make them more legally correct.

I can't tell you what to do or what will happen. My attitude is that it's worth it on paper to fight and make it clear you dispute and will dispute (and NEVER cede the right!). Then if someone pursues legal action or a claim, I can decide whether it's worth it to me to keep going.

What I will say for people reading this thread - not just the OP - is please think carefully before you post all these wonderful "hypothetical" answers to what will actually happen to this OP and people like him without knowing very much about which legal system or location he would - in practice - be contesting this in. What you are saying may be "technically" correct where you are or from your own experience, but it gives a poor impression of what the law in practice might actually be for him. This is exactly why "disclaimer/not your lawyer" was created!

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #78 on: January 19, 2016, 09:54:59 AM »
It sounds like mentally they have convinced you that they are right, you are wrong, and they are demonstrating that they will fight. Your tone has not matched the belief that you do not owe and you will not pay. In fact, in some of your communications, you may have conceded your ability to contest (can't know without seeing it).

I'm a bit troubled in this thread by all the (disclaimer) lawyerly advice/non-advice. I say that as someone who contributed to this. Unless people know your jurisdiction, how courts/judges/mediators/etc. handle these contracts and cases, the advice is NOT particularly helpful. These contracts are written by the employers to trip up employees like you. That doesn't mean that every judge or decision-maker will let the company win. In fact, contract clauses that are disproportionately against you and abused against you often are interpreted in your favor or flat out unenforceable if push comes to shove (which is why they try to bully you into where you are now). That's a big reason many companies now use arbitration, where it is cheaper and more likely they will win versus court system.

I have had my own HR office tell me or colleagues that we don't have rights to things that we DO. And you have to decide whether to fight or not. The hard-line of the company doesn't make it so. It doesn't even mean they will indeed fight if you choose to fight back. It also doesn't make them more legally correct.

I can't tell you what to do or what will happen. My attitude is that it's worth it on paper to fight and make it clear you dispute and will dispute (and NEVER cede the right!). Then if someone pursues legal action or a claim, I can decide whether it's worth it to me to keep going.

What I will say for people reading this thread - not just the OP - is please think carefully before you post all these wonderful "hypothetical" answers to what will actually happen to this OP and people like him without knowing very much about which legal system or location he would - in practice - be contesting this in. What you are saying may be "technically" correct where you are or from your own experience, but it gives a poor impression of what the law in practice might actually be for him. This is exactly why "disclaimer/not your lawyer" was created!


Thanks for the alternate viewpoint.

It sounds like regardless of what I sent to them via email, they'd just keep telling me the same thing and that everything I did was "voluntary" blah blah blah. Considering that, what else could I have done differently? Can I just decide not to pay by the deadline they've set and then see if they come after me further? In doing something like that, it seems like they would hold me responsible for additional fees incurred in going after me for this (especially upon signing that key employee agreement and 'locking' myself into it).

I don't know, it sounds risky to try calling their bluff and end up incurring more fees and what I ultimately owe them. I mean, what else could I have said to them if I had told them [in more or less words] "I don't owe you anything. Sorry." (to which they would have responded with the same message back as they already have)?

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #79 on: January 19, 2016, 10:02:04 AM »
Why not talk to a lawyer rather than strangers on the internet?

Of course, that might make it not worth the $5k that this is over, because presumably you'd have to pay the lawyer. (Maybe the consultation would be free?).  For $5k, I think I'd just suck it up and pay it (like you said you would when you signed the paper saying you would pay back tuition assistance if you left within a year of the course).  That's like two classes. If it were a whole degree it would be much more worth the fight.

Like the previous poster said, we don't know your jurisdiction.  But here, these contracts (for repayment of tuition assistance) are enforceable. It's usually the non-competes that are not, at least in my industry- because it basically prevents people from working at all, and here that isn't legal. Unless of course you accepted compensation to sign the non-compete. Then you get held to it.  I've known multiple people surprised by that- they just assume it's non-enforceable, and it isn't always.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 11:44:19 AM by iowajes »

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #80 on: January 19, 2016, 10:02:31 AM »
I just read this whole thread. I'm wondering about the course you took. Did it provide you with anything useful? Perhaps focusing on the value received would make this pill easier to swallow. It seems you might have better use for your life's energy. Since you can write it off, I'd strongly consider doing so and moving on with your life. Of course, the mustachian me would try to arrange to stretch out the payments over the course of this whole year, since I'm guessing you won't be able to write it off until next year. [Insert obligatory "I'm not a CPA" disclaimer here.]

Edited to fix typo. Still getting used to new not-an-iPad thingy.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 10:29:41 AM by Diane C »

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #81 on: January 19, 2016, 10:11:50 AM »
Why not talk to a lawyer rather than strangers on the internet?

Of course, that might make it not worth the $5k that this is over, because presumably you'd have to pay the lawyer. (Maybe the consultation would be free?).  For $5k, I think I'd just suck it up and pay it.  That's like two classes. If it were a whole degree it would be much more worth the fight.

Like the previous poster said, we don't know your jurisdiction.  But here, these contracts (for repayment of tuition assistance) are enforceable. It's usually the non-competes that are not, at least in my industry- because it basically prevents people from working at all, and here that isn't legal. Unless of course you accepted compensation to sign the non-compete. Then you get held to it.  I've known multiple people surprised by that- they just assume it's non-enforceable, and it isn't always.

I sent a quick email to my friend who is a lawyer (and lives down the street from me) and without looking at the actual policies but me explaining (and paraphrasing) she told me, more or less, that the former employee has the upper-ground here.
I'm in SoCal btw but the former company is HQed in Mass.

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #82 on: January 19, 2016, 10:18:19 AM »
I just read this whole thread. I'm wondering about the course you took. Did it provide you with anything useful? Perhaps focusing on the value received would make this pill easier to swallow. It seems you might have better use for your life's energy. Since you can write it off, I'd strongly consider doing so and moving on with your life. Of course, the mustachian me would try to arrange to stretch out the payments out over the course of this whole year, since I'm guessing you won't be able to write it off until next year. [Insert obligatory "I'm not a CPA" disclaimer here.]

It was a course for CISSP (information security industry certification) training. I think access to the material itself is particularly useful (aside from the now-expired recordings which are basically slides from every page in each book + the guy talking, I have the same recordings in mp3s and books). Someone earlier mentioned I *should* be able to write it off for 2015 but we'll see how this all pans out....

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #83 on: January 19, 2016, 11:21:14 AM »
I don't know, it seems like you've spent an awful lot of time trying to get out of this.  It seems to me that the employer is in the right here.  You agreed to pay them back if you left before the year is up.  And you are leaving.   

Is it really worth all this work?

Note: if you are in the right, that would be completely different.  My husband and I are known for fighting for small things and large things when we are in the right - incorrect medical bill, a late fee when the bank screwed up, etc.  We'll spend time on $20 because it's the principal.

But this seems pretty cut and dried to me.  Even if you were "possibly" going to be laid off.  You weren't laid off.  You quit.

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #84 on: January 19, 2016, 11:31:23 AM »
Just got a response back - my proposal (for the prorated amount) was denied by the HR and Legal teams. Looks like that settles that, for the most part...

Wow, this thread has stirred up quite a bit of controversy! Seems like several are of the opinion that I should keep trying to fight it while others take the stance that the former company is in the right and I should just oblige with the repayment. I'm pretty conflicted myself, of course wanting to fight (and win), but it seems like an uphill battle. And yea, not sure if it's worth the time (or especially getting a lawyer). Sounds like just paying it and doing a tax write-off is the 'easiest' and perhaps best option at this point in time.

That said, I'm deeply disappointed in my former company that they are going so hard after me for this.

Here's the response BTW:

"Your proposal was denied by XXX Legal and HR.

Since you left on Dec. 30th, 2015 on your own accord and participated in an XXX training during July and August, 2015, you are required to repay XXX for the amount of the training.   

This is based on the Key Employee Agreement (KEA) that you signed, upon hire highlighting verbiage below (full documents and your signed affirmation are attached). 

 

(i) You agree that tuition costs for which the Company has reimbursed you and tuition advancements which may have already been paid to you will be recovered in full if you voluntarily terminate employment within one year of completion of the respective course(s).

 

You chose not to stay with XXX until June 30th, 2016, 6 months post your actual voluntary termination date of December 2015.  You are correct, had you stayed until June 30th, 2016 the obligation to owe XXX back for the class would have been voided.   With that said, you are obligated to reimburse XXX for the full amount owed of $4,628.17, due on/before Feb. 10th, 2016."

SeanMC

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #85 on: January 19, 2016, 11:42:49 AM »

Thanks for the alternate viewpoint.

It sounds like regardless of what I sent to them via email, they'd just keep telling me the same thing and that everything I did was "voluntary" blah blah blah. Considering that, what else could I have done differently? Can I just decide not to pay by the deadline they've set and then see if they come after me further? In doing something like that, it seems like they would hold me responsible for additional fees incurred in going after me for this (especially upon signing that key employee agreement and 'locking' myself into it).

I don't know, it sounds risky to try calling their bluff and end up incurring more fees and what I ultimately owe them. I mean, what else could I have said to them if I had told them [in more or less words] "I don't owe you anything. Sorry." (to which they would have responded with the same message back as they already have)?

I honestly don't know. I think starting with a formal "I don't owe you anything, sorry. Don't harass me again about this, or I will refer it to my lawyer" to begin with can help. In some companies, it moves who deals with you (from HR to legal, for example). So the HR admin person who loves their rules and policies can say voluntary all they want but then someone else has to decide whether to actually pursue this in any way. They also have to figure out if they are complying with debt collection practices/laws in how they ask you for $ they think you owe that you dispute.

Some of it is how much risk and hassle you want to take on for the amount of $ involved. Personally - not professionally - I tend to cave very early because I have a very low tolerance and thresh-hold for hassle in my day to day life. This has cost me $$$ that I later on wished I tried harder to fight for. So I'm not trying to tell you that you were wrong or even that I would have done much different!

Also - The part about shifting fees/costs to you is meant to keep you from challenging or disputing it. However, it is only triggered if they are actually proven right that you owe. (If you are correct and they waste $ trying to recover from you, you don't owe THAT). So it changes the stakes for you and makes it riskier to fight. But if you are going to settle or pay once it gets escalated at all, then that's not really a concern (if you offer $ without fees if they release/settle vs. forcing them to go all the way to prove $ to get fees, they likely will not want to keep pushing over the fee issue themselves and risk losing the contract interpretation claim). So I don't think of it as affecting the choice of contesting initially, at least to begin with.

Given the actual amount here, legal fees outweigh benefits to BOTH parties. It's not worth fighting all the way, of course. For the company, though, fighting 1 person can give them the benefit of making 100 people not fight in the future. However, having a public record in which their contract is deemed unenforceable would also be bad for them.

If the question is what to do if you could do the whole thing over again, I think the answer would be in the documentation at the time of the advance termination. The reason I am more optimistic about your legal chances than some other posters is that I view that as potentially having legal meaning, such that your choice to leave cannot be defined as voluntary. It's not clear and it's not nearly as settled as people who are induced into quitting or leaving when it was really constructive termination. But it was something. So in my do-over, that was the point in which to figure out if they intended to keep you until the 1 year time period passed and if they legally admitted that they would not be doing so, to get things released/squared away.

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #86 on: January 19, 2016, 11:43:14 AM »
I don't know, it seems like you've spent an awful lot of time trying to get out of this.  It seems to me that the employer is in the right here.  You agreed to pay them back if you left before the year is up.  And you are leaving.   

Is it really worth all this work?

Note: if you are in the right, that would be completely different.  My husband and I are known for fighting for small things and large things when we are in the right - incorrect medical bill, a late fee when the bank screwed up, etc.  We'll spend time on $20 because it's the principal.

But this seems pretty cut and dried to me.  Even if you were "possibly" going to be laid off.  You weren't laid off.  You quit.

I haven't spent too much time - just between this thread and the emails it's really not much. Considering I have until February to pay up, I figure it's worth spending some time to research what options, if any, I have (or are left at this rate).

FWIW, regarding "non-competes" here is the portion of the letter explaining the "KEA" and its purpose:

"In consideration of your employment by XXX and in recognition of the fact that as an employee of XXX you have access to confidential information, I ask that you please review and sign the following Key Employee Agreement (the “Agreement”). This Agreement protects the
Company’s legitimate business interests including protecting both the Company and its employees from unfair competition from former employees. This Agreement, when either signed or electronically signed by you, is a binding legal agreement. You are advised to review its terms with your legal advisor before signing it."

Not that it matters or would change anything, but what if I'm working for a non-competitor now?
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 11:46:39 AM by jplee3 »

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #87 on: January 20, 2016, 12:30:08 PM »
I agree with Sean.  There's no way I would send them a check for ~$5k by February 10th.  They're not going to come repossess your car if you don't pay up by 2/10. Consult a lawyer-they're WAY less expensive than people think.

For example, it was $300 to hire a lawyer to push back against my husband's old company trying to deny his unemployment claim.  The UE was thousands of dollars a month since it's based on salary.  And technically my husband left "voluntarily" in that his new boss told him she would do everything possible to fire him if he didn't take severance and resign.  Fuck them-fight back as hard as you can.

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #88 on: January 20, 2016, 12:33:03 PM »
I agree with Sean.  There's no way I would send them a check for ~$5k by February 10th.  They're not going to come repossess your car if you don't pay up by 2/10. Consult a lawyer-they're WAY less expensive than people think.

For example, it was $300 to hire a lawyer to push back against my husband's old company trying to deny his unemployment claim.  The UE was thousands of dollars a month since it's based on salary.  And technically my husband left "voluntarily" in that his new boss told him she would do everything possible to fire him if he didn't take severance and resign.  Fuck them-fight back as hard as you can.

Haha, I guess the trick is finding a lawyer who will fight the case (are they really that "cheap"?). I'm not quite sure where to start with this since I've never done anything like this before. My friend, who specializes in real-estate law, is the one who also told me that my chances aren't good here and I don't want to bother her any more.

BTW: if I don't pay up by 2/10, they are saying that I will be responsible for any additional fees incurred via them pursuing this matter further (legally, etc)

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #89 on: January 20, 2016, 12:36:23 PM »
I agree with Sean.  There's no way I would send them a check for ~$5k by February 10th.  They're not going to come repossess your car if you don't pay up by 2/10. Consult a lawyer-they're WAY less expensive than people think.

For example, it was $300 to hire a lawyer to push back against my husband's old company trying to deny his unemployment claim.  The UE was thousands of dollars a month since it's based on salary.  And technically my husband left "voluntarily" in that his new boss told him she would do everything possible to fire him if he didn't take severance and resign.  Fuck them-fight back as hard as you can.

Haha, I guess the trick is finding a lawyer who will fight the case (are they really that "cheap"?). I'm not quite sure where to start with this since I've never done anything like this before. My friend, who specializes in real-estate law, is the one who also told me that my chances aren't good here and I don't want to bother her any more.

BTW: if I don't pay up by 2/10, they are saying that I will be responsible for any additional fees incurred via them pursuing this matter further (legally, etc)

Ask your lawyer friend to refer you to someone who deals with employment law. To find the UE lawyer I just asked a lawyer friend to refer me to someone who deals with unemployment cases.  He did, and my husband's company backed down immediately.  (They didn't even show up to the UE appeals hearing.) 

Lawyers bill by the hour so unless you get into a protracted trial it's very unlikely that you're going to need to spend thousands of dollars for advice.

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #90 on: January 20, 2016, 12:49:09 PM »

BTW: if I don't pay up by 2/10, they are saying that I will be responsible for any additional fees incurred via them pursuing this matter further (legally, etc)

That's not really for them to decide.  That MAY end up being true, of course- but if they purse this legally, even if they win, they can't decide to give you their fees, only a judge could.

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #91 on: January 20, 2016, 12:51:35 PM »
I agree with Sean.  There's no way I would send them a check for ~$5k by February 10th.  They're not going to come repossess your car if you don't pay up by 2/10. Consult a lawyer-they're WAY less expensive than people think.

For example, it was $300 to hire a lawyer to push back against my husband's old company trying to deny his unemployment claim.  The UE was thousands of dollars a month since it's based on salary.  And technically my husband left "voluntarily" in that his new boss told him she would do everything possible to fire him if he didn't take severance and resign.  Fuck them-fight back as hard as you can.

Haha, I guess the trick is finding a lawyer who will fight the case (are they really that "cheap"?). I'm not quite sure where to start with this since I've never done anything like this before. My friend, who specializes in real-estate law, is the one who also told me that my chances aren't good here and I don't want to bother her any more.

BTW: if I don't pay up by 2/10, they are saying that I will be responsible for any additional fees incurred via them pursuing this matter further (legally, etc)

Ask your lawyer friend to refer you to someone who deals with employment law. To find the UE lawyer I just asked a lawyer friend to refer me to someone who deals with unemployment cases.  He did, and my husband's company backed down immediately.  (They didn't even show up to the UE appeals hearing.) 

Lawyers bill by the hour so unless you get into a protracted trial it's very unlikely that you're going to need to spend thousands of dollars for advice.

Thanks! This just reminded me of another friend of ours who is a lawyer and I think employment law might be one of her specialties... I just emailed her husband (who I was friends with first) to ask if she has references. Would be great if she were willing to just step in and help though. We'll see...

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #92 on: January 20, 2016, 12:57:19 PM »

BTW: if I don't pay up by 2/10, they are saying that I will be responsible for any additional fees incurred via them pursuing this matter further (legally, etc)

That's not really for them to decide.  That MAY end up being true, of course- but if they purse this legally, even if they win, they can't decide to give you their fees, only a judge could.

If this does end up going to court and going that far, I wonder how all this would work given that their jurisdiction is Massachusetts and their policy seems to indicate that if they were to file a claim or counterclaim against me that I would need to be present in the court(s) there per the agreement I signed: "You agree that the exclusive venue for any action seeking declaratory or injunctive relief for violation of this Agreemeent is in the state and/or federal courts located in Massachusetts, and you consent to personal jurisdiction in such courts"

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #93 on: January 20, 2016, 12:59:31 PM »
I have been following your story here and have been on the employer side of many Employer/Employee differences things like this get me irritated. Having said that I would push it as far as you can as your still pretty early in the game. Black or white there are always gray areas and interpretations that I know I came up on the Employer side losing.

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #94 on: January 20, 2016, 02:47:37 PM »
If you employment lawyer friend also tells you the same thing (as in employer has the upper hand), I would suck it up and pay. It would have been nice of them to waive (I had similar fees waived for me before) but it seems you pissed them off when you quit, the way you quit. You did give them the standard 2 weeks notice but you were already on leave so it sounds like it left a bad impression with them. Also, with the organizational changes maybe they really cannot waive any fees.

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #95 on: January 20, 2016, 02:58:31 PM »
If you employment lawyer friend also tells you the same thing (as in employer has the upper hand), I would suck it up and pay. It would have been nice of them to waive (I had similar fees waived for me before) but it seems you pissed them off when you quit, the way you quit. You did give them the standard 2 weeks notice but you were already on leave so it sounds like it left a bad impression with them. Also, with the organizational changes maybe they really cannot waive any fees.

It's possible they were upset with the way I left, but I definitely didn't leave them hanging as far as "transitional duties." If they were "upset," there's little reason to justify it. Now, as far as the organizational changes, it would make more sense that this is the primary reason why they've been so aggressive about this (e.g. they need to do all the can to pinch every little penny they can. after all, a big payout is on the line and coming up for the stakeholders). At the end of the day, it's all speculation... and at this point, I could really care less about *why* they're doing this. Anyway, I'll wait and see what my friends say. I just got another reference for an employment lawyer so I'll get her spin on it as well.

Ricksun

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #96 on: January 20, 2016, 04:57:58 PM »
Wow - Interesting thread and I feel for jplee3 for the potential outlay.  However, looking from the company's perspective, they may have been counting on you during the period before your potential advanced termination, else why would they not just release you immediately.  With that in mind, the company should have every entitlement to the investment back.   

That being said, I personally think they're being petty for attempting to recoup it, as $5000 is peanuts to a company that has its own HR and legal counsel...  They may be setting an example/precedent for other employees in the same situation.  I wish you'd share the company name so that I don't go work for them.

Rick

jeromedawg

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #97 on: January 20, 2016, 05:08:09 PM »
Wow - Interesting thread and I feel for jplee3 for the potential outlay.  However, looking from the company's perspective, they may have been counting on you during the period before your potential advanced termination, else why would they not just release you immediately.  With that in mind, the company should have every entitlement to the investment back.   

That being said, I personally think they're being petty for attempting to recoup it, as $5000 is peanuts to a company that has its own HR and legal counsel...  They may be setting an example/precedent for other employees in the same situation.  I wish you'd share the company name so that I don't go work for them.

Rick

Oh I'll definitely be sure to let you know if you don't know by now :) But first, let's wait a little for more of the 'dust' to settle and see what happens. I'll be discussing this with another lawyer-friend who actually specializes in employment law (although, her husband tells me it's in the public sector...). Depending on what she says, I have another lawyer reference who I am considering speaking with (she has years of experience working at different companies in varied industries, along with currently running her own practice while currently employed by a tech company) - I think she might be able to provide the most 'seasoned' input.
As far as them making an example of me, that could be the case but I'd be hard-pressed to believe there are others that are in the same exact situation (where I was paid out tuition assistance and THEN given advance notice). In fact, what's to stop a current employee with advance termination from taking tuition assistance NOW, and having remittance waived when they are let go? If that's the case, I should have stayed at the company and signed up for more tuition assistance! LOL
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 05:12:56 PM by jplee3 »

I'm a red panda

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #98 on: January 21, 2016, 07:20:06 AM »

If this does end up going to court and going that far, I wonder how all this would work given that their jurisdiction is Massachusetts and their policy seems to indicate that if they were to file a claim or counterclaim against me that I would need to be present in the court(s) there per the agreement I signed: "You agree that the exclusive venue for any action seeking declaratory or injunctive relief for violation of this Agreemeent is in the state and/or federal courts located in Massachusetts, and you consent to personal jurisdiction in such courts"

Well, isn't your entire case that somehow the agreement you signed non-enforceable? It would seem that if they can't enforce the collection, they also shouldn't be able to enforce the jurisdiction.

That's why I don't really understand what you think your case is.  You seem to think that you shouldn't have to do what you agreed to by signing the document, while also thinking the document governs your behavior.

(I just looked at my company's tuition reimbursement agreement- and they also have you sign that if you don't pay on time, not only are you responsible for legal fees to get you to pay; but also the portion of the salaries of the people at the company who are spending their time to try to collect from you.  It would get really expensive really fast to not pay up.)

Jack

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Re: Former employer billing me per tuition assistance
« Reply #99 on: January 21, 2016, 07:29:02 AM »
Well, isn't your entire case that somehow the agreement you signed non-enforceable? It would seem that if they can't enforce the collection, they also shouldn't be able to enforce the jurisdiction.

That's why I don't really understand what you think your case is.  You seem to think that you shouldn't have to do what you agreed to by signing the document, while also thinking the document governs your behavior.

In my opinion, his case would be that the clause in the agreement does not apply because his dismissal was in fact not voluntary: the "advance notice" was a genuine lay-off regardless of the weasel-words used. In other words, the case lies in the facts of the situation and interpretation of the layoff notice, not interpretation of the employment agreement.