Getting out of relocation obligation

My company has a policy requiring employees to repay and relocation expenses if they quit or are fired in less than two years from the date of relocation. After being relocated, the company changed certain aspects of my job (who I report to, working hours) and have reduced my benefits. Is this relocation obligation still enforceable if I quit?

1 answer  |  asked May 26, 2007 02:11 AM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Relocation Expenses Repayable

To answer your question I would need to review the agreement by which you are required to repay moving expenses if you leave before the end of two years. It may have some wording that would excuse repayment under certain circumstances. In general, however, there is no guarantee of continued employment when you work in the private sector for an indeterminate period of time. This is what is referred to as "at-will" employment. If your repayment provision requires repayment regardless of the reason for termination, your employer could probably terminate you during the first two years and you would still be required to repay the expenses. Your only hope is an implied covenant in the agreement, known as the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. This gives you relief if the company terminates you to deprive you of a benefit that was part of the agreement. But the company has not terminated you. Unless your new working conditions are so oppressive that a reasonable person would feel compelled to quit (known as a "constructive discharge"), your decision to quit would not be a breach of the covenant by the company, and so you would be required to repay the moving expenses.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  May 26, 2007 1:26 PM [EST]

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