Must a sign-on bonus be repaid if the employee quits?

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Must a sign-on bonus be repaid if the employee quits?

I do door-to-door sales and work for a UT alarm company. I received a $2200 sign-on bonus. I recently left them and they are threatening to sue me in UT and send me to collections there. That’s not legal right?

Asked on August 3, 2011 Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Was there some agreement that you would return the bonus if you left before a certain amount of time had passed? If there was such an agreement made prior to your receiving the bonus (so that you agreed that in taking it, you would have to return it if you left), that agreement would be enforceable. In the absence of such an agreement, the employer would have to demonstrate some fraud--some knowing, intentional misrepresentation which you made--or an inability on your part to take the job in order to recover the bonus. For example, if they can show that you never had an intention of staying with them, but signed on only to get the bonus, or that you could not work there because you lacked some qualification (e.g. citizenship) necessary to work, that might suffice to recover it. But again, in the absence of an agreement to return the bonus or some wrongdoing of some sort, they would seem to not have grounds to recover it from you.


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