If I signed a tuition reimbursement contract with my employer but it breached the contract, do I have to pay back the tuition if I quit my job?

I signed a tuition reimbursement contract with my employer. The contract states that the employer will pay the university within 90 days of receiving the tuition bill. My employer missed this due date on 2 occasions. The contract also says that I (employee) is obligated to pay back any tuition paid on my behalf within the past 2 years. Did my employer “breach” our contract when they did not pay my tuition on time? Does this make the contract void and therefore I would not owe any tuition back to my employer?

Asked on June 30, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It may have been a technical breach, but only a material, or important, breach of a contract will entitle the other party to the agreement to avoid his/her obligations. Assuming that the failure to pay on time did not result in your being kicked out of school, not being issued your degree or diploma, etc., then their minor late payment would almost certainly not rise to the level of a material breach, and therefore would not release you from your own responsibilities.


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