What to do if an employer agrees to pay moving expenses but doesn’t pay?

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What to do if an employer agrees to pay moving expenses but doesn’t pay?

Moved 2000 miles with a job transfer where the employer pays moving expenses. There was no set contract on how long I needed to be there for the moving expenses to be paid in full. I ended up leaving the job and moving back 2 1/2 months later and have not received my moving expense check from when I moved to the job. It has now been 4 months. There was no written contract, only oral. Am I entitled to my expense check?

Asked on April 2, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are probably entitled to reimbursement, under one or both of the following theories:

1) Contract--an oral agreement is enforceable (though, of course, as a practical matter it can be more difficult to prove its existence or terms than with a written agreement).

2) Promissory estoppel--if you accepted the transfer and moved only because you relied on the employer's promise to pay moving costs, your "detrimental reliance" on that promise (i.e. you relied on it to do something significant to your potential detriment) can make the promise enforceable.

If the agreement had included a caveat that you had to stay a minimum length of time, that would be different--that restriction would be enforceable. But if that restriction was not laid out at the time the compay agreed to pay moving expenses, then they would seem to have to pay your costs, even though you soon left their employ. If they do not pay, you should be able to sue them for the money.


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