Legal Question in Business Law in Oklahoma

My company requires that every employee train for and pass a board certification exam costing $700. They also require that every employee sign a policy and procedure manual agreeing to the terms. The policy manual states that upon passing the exam, the employee receives a $2,500 bonus and $2,500 raise. It also states that the employee must stay with the company for at least 12 months after accepting the bonus and raise. If the employee quits prior to working 12 months, the employee must pay the company $5,000 for the bonus, raise, training costs, and exam fee. The amounts will not be pro-rated. Is this legal? What are the chances of an employer going after a low level employee for $5,000?

Asked on 1/18/11, 8:25 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

If this is a "requirement" for employment or hiring there is cause to be concerned as you may be signing or agreeing to these terms under coerced or duress circumstances. In other words, this can be construded as illegal or it can be challenged if these terms are forced upon you as a condition of employment and adversely affects you in the selection process based on your refusal to sign the agreement.

However, if you voluntarily "quit" prior to what seems to be a probationary period, this agreement is perfectly legal and cannot be challenged in court.

If it is not a condition of employment, the question is whether you signed and agreed to these terms. If you do not agree, it best to refuse the raise and bonus under these terms and conditions.

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Answered on 1/23/11, 9:18 pm
Kevin B. Murphy Franchise Foundations, APC

As a Franchise Attorney I can say this. Many other companies have similar policies. If they are agreed to, they are generally enforceable. Whether the company pursues a low level employee for the $5k depends on their enforcement policy. Consult with a good business or franchise attorney in your area for specific advice.

Mr. Franchise - Kevin B. Murphy, B.S., M.B.A., J.D.

Franchise Foundations, a Professional Corporation

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Answered on 1/24/11, 7:19 am
Mitty Means Mohanty Means, P.C.

It is simply wrong and is not enforceable regardless of what other companies do.

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Answered on 1/24/11, 10:27 am

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