Can my employer legally require reimbursement for recruitment fees they incurred prior to hiring me when I quit the job?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my employer legally require reimbursement for recruitment fees they incurred prior to hiring me when I quit the job?

No money was paid to me in the form of a
signing bonus, relocation fee, or any other
upfront monies. I was approached by a
recruiter who informed me that the employer
wanted to interview me. Once I received the
offer, it included language stating that the
employee is required to reimburse the
employer for 12,000 to cover the cost of
recruitment at the time of termination. I dont
feel I should be responsible for covering the
employers business expenses regardless of
whether it involved my hiring or not. Please
advise what I can do during my resignation
process to dissuade this occurance or how to
proceed should they attempt to collect.

Asked on July 16, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you agreed to the reimbursement *before* accepting the job (for example: you were presented with the requirement before you accepted; you were told that accepting the repayment obligation was a condition of getting the job; etc.) then you are bound to what you agreed. It's not a function of whether it fair or whether you received any of the money--it is a pure contractual matter, and you are held to what you agreed to. In this instance, you would be required to pay the money. There would be nothing to you could do to avoid paying this other than trying to negotiate with your employer. (If you can work something better out with them, make sure you get it in writing.)
On the other hand, if you did not agree to pay this BEFORE or AS A CONDITION OF having the job, you are not required to repay: your employer cannot unilaterally (without your consent) add an obligation to you. They can't force you to pay something if you did not agree to pay in exchange for working.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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