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Employment question...

Discussion in 'Open Discussion (Work-safe)' started by DEBuckeye, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. DEBuckeye

    DEBuckeye It ain't easy, bein' cheesy.

    I know we've got a few lawyers here, and a lot of experienced business-people. Tell me what you think of this scenario:

    Let's say someone decided to go back to school for an MBA, and their company agreed to pay for it. This person was never asked, in person or on a contract, to agree to stay at the company for a certain number of years after finishing the degree. And as far as this person knows, there is no written or posted policy stating that you must stay for a certian number of years. However, this person has heard of other employees being asked to sign such an agreement.

    Now let's say that this person finishes the degree and finds out that they are worth more to another company, or that the current company isn't going to do anything (salary or job wise) now that they have an MBA. Therefore, this person wants to leave and accept another job.

    Is there anything, legally, that would keep this person from leaving? Would the company have any legal recourse?

    Any other thoughts?
  2. BrutuStrength

    BrutuStrength It's time to bring it!

    I'd check with the HR department to verify the matter. I would think that they would only have legal recourse if it was expressly stated/documented as such.

    I received some specialized IT training that cost $15 - 25K. I had to sign a 2 year work agreement or I had to repay the cost of the training.
  3. OilerBuck

    OilerBuck Sweet Crude

    I'm not a lawyer (although I have worked with them for the past two and a half years) but in business law, pre-existing policies would be the only recourse that they have against you. I believe that they could only take action against you if they proved that you were informed of and agreed to such a policy by your signature or by your attendance at an event where the policy was discussed.

    Talk to your HR rep, but I can't imagine they can do anything unless you signed an agreement without reading all the fine print.
  4. gbearbuck

    gbearbuck Herbie for President

    Def check the corporate polity... if it states one must sign a formal agreement and you didn't, that is the companies error... if it just states some type of schedule of extended employment is required you might be forced to stay or pay back the funds paid for school... I'm not a lawyer, so take it with a grain of salt...
  5. RugbyBuck

    RugbyBuck Our church has no bells.

    For what it's worth, that is exactly the scenario I had with the law firm that paid my law school tuition. We didn't have an agreement that I would come to work there as a lawyer when I finished, but there was an implicit understanding that if both sides agreed to it, it would happen. Ultimately, I got an offer from a much larger/better firm my last semester in law school and bailed. They didn't seek reimbursement or anything, but there was considerable bad blood. Years later I called the firm's managing partner and apologized, not necessarily for leaving, but for the way I had handled it. There's no legal recourse, but think hard about any decision and then handle it as best you can.
  6. NorthShoreBuck

    NorthShoreBuck True Madness Requires Significant Intelligence

    Go on, Take the money and run.
  7. Buckeyeskickbuttocks

    Buckeyeskickbuttocks Z --> Z^2 + c Staff Member

    Apparently you have signed no non-compete, and therefore you are free to move along as you see fit. Even had you signed a non-compete, there are limits to those, with regard to time and geography and such.

    At best, all they can do is recoup the money they spent on you, or a part of it. They should not be able to keep you from taking another job. From the facts as you've listed them, it is they who dropped the ball, in your case. Who knows what they might say you already knew, what may be in a written policy book that you are required to already be aware of... My devil's advocate question to you is, why in the world would you think they'd pay for schooling without them also having an expectation of some benefit from their agreement to pay?

    It's quite a bit more complicated than that but I hope that helps.

    Rugby makes a good point, businesses are supposed to be competent enough to protect themselves in these situations if they desire such protection. Bad blood can also sometimes be worse.
  8. DEBuckeye

    DEBuckeye It ain't easy, bein' cheesy.

    Oooh, oooh, oooh. (in my "Steve Miller" font...)

    Seriously, thanks for the answers. I am sure they're looking for a return on the investment, they just didn't communicate it to me- as some of you have said, it's their screw-up.

    I know that would be burning a bridge (hell, that would be blowing up a bridge), but if I tool another job it would be out of state so I'm not sure I care.
  9. NorthShoreBuck

    NorthShoreBuck True Madness Requires Significant Intelligence

    I may have some knowledge of the company you speak.
    You may also want to check any papers you signed when you hired on with that company.
  10. gbearbuck

    gbearbuck Herbie for President

    I could also be considered a benefit to working with them. I know my employer will pay 50% of higher education and I can leave at any time.

    Heck, my wife can go to OSU for any and all classes free of charge (her employer pays the bill). She doesn't need to stay for any period of time, it is simply another benefit they provide their employee's. (to top it off, her kids and spouse can go to OSU at half off)... granted she works for a company affiliated with OSU so they get the bene's an OSU employee would have...
  11. RugbyBuck

    RugbyBuck Our church has no bells.

    Yep. See about getting a copy of your personnel file and double check both sides of everything you may have signed.

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