Verbal agreement to

I signed a "payback sign on bonus" agreement if I voluntarily quit within two years for my previous employer.

For various reasons, including harassing email's from a fellow employee (which HR said they would fire him if he continued, but they never did - even after a couple additional incidents), I quit eight months prior to the two years.

Before I quit or even before I let my former employer know I was going to leave I inquired about payback of the sign-on bonus.

My manager (in front of others) said this was at his discretion and it was not his policy to seek repayment. Indeed, he indicated he would not require me to repay the sign on bonus if I quit (again, this was in front of two other employees).

Unfortunetly, I should have got this in writing - it's been a month since I quit and started my new job, I was just contacted by the former employer requesting payment of this sign on bonus.

Do I have any recourse at this point?


P.S. I thought I left on good terms, I was even told I would be welcomed back and please contact them if I ever reconsider working with them again.

2 answers  |  asked Aug 13, 2004 2:27 PM [EST]  |  applies to Texas

Answers (2)

Margaret A. Harris
Another Idea

Write the person a letter and say that there must have been a mistake -- and tell what happened just like you've presented it here. Be nice, just as though it is really nothing more than a goof-up on their part. If that doesn't resolve the problem, go to a lawyer.

posted by Margaret A. Harris  |  Aug 13, 2004 3:28 PM [EST]
Dana LeJune
Payback of signing bonus

Mr. Artz:
Was the agreement to pay back the signing bonus in writing? Your query is ambiguous about that. If it is, the general rule of contract law is that a written agreement cannot be modified verbally; in fact, it is doubtful if your coworkers' testimony will be allowed as evidence, as "parole evidence" (words) cannot be used to modify or explain a written agreement.

Nevertheless, if there's enought $ involved, it may serve you well to retain counsel to respond to the company's demand in writing; may just make them go away.

You may email me directly for any other questions, or call.
713 942-9898

Dana LeJune

posted by Dana LeJune  |  Aug 13, 2004 2:47 PM [EST]

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