By law, do I have to pay my employer the agent fee it incurred in hiring me if I break the contract?

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By law, do I have to pay my employer the agent fee it incurred in hiring me if I break the contract?

I was hired by my employer from abroad on a 3 year at will contract. Now I am moving to another job after working for 15 months. My employer paid $7500 to the agent in hiring me from abroad. Now it is asking me to pay back the fees it paid to the agent on a prorata basis.

Asked on May 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, employees do not need to repay recruiter or agent fees. However, if there was an employment contract and you breached its terms--for example, the contract was for 3 years, but  you left around half-way through--the employer would have a claim for the damages it suffered due to your breach, such as for for some (e.g. a pro rata portion) of the agent or recruiter fees which it paid but has not gotten the value of. While for a definitive answer, you need to have an attorney review the precise language of the contract with you, from what you write, this may be one of the rare occasions where an employee does need to repay a hiring fee of this type.


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