Am I required to repay sign-on bonus and relocation expenses based on upcoming job loss?

Points to consider:
1. Verbally offered an executive level position (Director) with full relocation package and significant sign-on bonus in mid-December 2015.
2. Accepted position (after some negotiation) both verbally and in writing in early January 2016
3. Part of the offer letter states that if I was to "resign" or " be terminated for misconduct" within [1-year for the sign-on bonus] and [2-years for the relocation expenses], I am to repay the bonus and any relocation expenses incurred by the company (on a pro-rated basis).
4. Upon relocating (to Iowa) and starting the job January 11, 2016, I learned the contract my company had with it's client had been cancelled (subsequent legal action by the company has been in play since that decision). Therefore, we're at a point which we're facing job elimination.
5. We (all site employees) are to receive 30-day notices of termination this week.
6. The company (graciously) is working feverishly to find the potentially displaced employees positions within the company in response to the contract cancellation.
7. Company is based in Tampa, Florida

2 answers  |  asked Feb 8, 2016 10:12 AM [EST]  |  applies to Florida

Answers (2)

Phyllis Towzey
Since you are not resigning and are not being terminated for misconduct, so long as any other documents you signed (like an employment agreement) are consistent with the language in the offer letter you have no obligation to repay any amounts.

posted by Phyllis Towzey  |  Feb 8, 2016 3:48 PM [EST]
Archibald Thomas
Based on the limited information provided, it does not appear that repayment would be required. However, you cannot necessarily rely on on the offer letter. You should also review the terms of the loan agreement and the relocation agreement as well.

Archibald Thomas
Board Certified Labor and Employment Lawyer

posted by Archibald Thomas  |  Feb 8, 2016 10:29 AM [EST]

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