Should a relocation delay result in termination and, specifically, return of a sign-on bonus?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Should a relocation delay result in termination and, specifically, return of a sign-on bonus?

I accepted a job offer in another state which also required my relocation and to do so within a short, predefined timeframe. The employer paid, up front, a sign-on bonus to join the firm not relocation related and the offer letter included a contingency ‘Should you voluntarily separate your employment or be terminated for cause within 12 months, you will be obligated to repay this amount

Asked on September 27, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You agreed to relocate within a predetermined or set period of time. Unless that agreement itself included the contingency that you could have more time if you were in  financial straits, had trouble finding or selling property, etc., then your personal living and financial issues are irrelevant: if you did not relocate in time, you violated your agreement. Your failure to relocate can be considered voluntary separation (you chose to not relocate to where you employer is--even if the cost would have been prohibitive to you, in the law's eyes, this is your decision because you could have accepted the costs or consequences and found someplace, no matter how small or mean, to live in temporarily near to your employer) and/or grounds for termination "for cause" (not being present at work) which would have the same effect for both unemployment eligibility (you cannot get unemployment benefits if you either voluntarily separate or are fired for cause) and on your obligation to return the bonus. So in answer to your question, yes, they can require the return of the bonus and deny you unemployment. Agreeing to relocate with a short time frame may have been a very bad choice for you, under the circumstances, but it it was still your choice: you are held to the consequences of it.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption