Can a company make me pay back a recruiting agency fee that they paid not me ifI leave in less than a year?

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Can a company make me pay back a recruiting agency fee that they paid not me ifI leave in less than a year?

I was hired by a company through an employment agency and signed an agreement with the employer that I would pay them back the fee they paid to the employment agency if I left the company in less than a year. Is this legal? Do I have to pay them – I never paid the agency, they did

Asked on February 28, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it  is legal. To begin with, you signed an agreement stating that you would repay them; since you contractually obligated yourself to do this, you have to reimburse the company if you leave in less than a year. Contracts which people voluntarily enter into are enforceable, and for  this purpose, it is voluntary if you chose to sign it to get the job--that is, you had the right and ability to decline the job if you considered this condition onerous or unfaiir.

Second, there is nothing inherently illegal about agreeing to reimburse another's cost, which they incur due to your actions. In this case, they incur a "wasted" recruitment fee if you leave employment too soon; there is nothing illegal about  you covering that cost.


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