Legal Question in Employment Law in District of Columbia

When I started my previous job, I received a signing bonus of $x with a 2 year vesting period. The contract stipulated that “involuntary termination” would result in relief of all repayment liability. About 8 months after I began my employment, half of the original company was spun-off to form a new company. Several employees were terminated and rehired for the new company, including myself; I have a termination letter from the company that originally offered me the signing bonus. Thus, I believe I was relieved from all repayment liability.

I have since left the spin-off company (a year after my initial employment) and now months after I left the spin-off, the original company is trying to collect the signing bonus back. The problem is I misplaced my original copy of the contract. I asked the company to send me the contract out of my HR file so I could review it, and now the language is different from my original contract. The contract is a 2 page document and only the second page has my signature; all the stipulations of the signing bonus are detailed on the first page. I cannot prove that the company forged or altered the 1st page as I no longer have the original contract (however, I'm confident this is exactly what happened – ethics were not exactly in the core values of this company). Since neither my signature nor initials appear anywhere on the first page of the document, my question is whether the company can prove I agreed to the terms on the 1st page (which I didn't)?


Asked on 10/06/10, 2:14 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Phillip M. Cook Cook Legal Services, LLC

You have an uphill battle. If you file a lawsuit against the company, you can subpoena any records they may or may not have. You will also have the opportunity to depose the company officers/HR so that you can ask them about the bonus on the record, under oath. Of course, you should hire a DC attorney to represent you in this matter.

Best of luck.******The above is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client privilege.*******

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Answered on 10/11/10, 2:20 pm


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