Can a 5 year tuition reimbursement contract be broken?

I signed a 5 year contract in exchange for money to help with graduate education (about $46,000). I want to separate from this employer after one year due to ethical and liabilty reasons (unsafe medical working conditions). According to my contract, 10% of the money has been "worked off" after one year, 25% after two years, etc. How difficult is it to break such a contract?

2 answers  |  asked Jul 6, 2010 4:21 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (2)

Bruce Elfvin
Your leverage in any discussions will depend on the extent and nature of any ethical or liability reasons and whether the employer had real exposure. You can negotiate (always) and it doesn't hurt to discuss this early.

posted by Bruce Elfvin  |  Jul 8, 2010 07:24 AM [EST]
Neil Klingshirn
Once you enter into a valid contract, it is difficult to get out of it. Unless you can prove duress, fraud in the formation of the agreement, mutual mistake of fact, lack of assent or some other legally recognized defense to the agreement, you should expect a court to enforce it. Your choices, it seems, are to work there for the balance of the five years or pay back the scheduled balance.

Although bound by a properly formed agreement, you are still free to renegotiate the terms, if the other side is also willing. To the extent that you can credibly claim an inability to repay the full amount upon termination, you might be able to renegotiate a reduction or payments.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Jul 7, 2010 09:37 AM [EST]

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