Legal Question in Employment Law in South Carolina
Training Bond/Promissory Note Liability
As a condition of employment with an airline, I recently signed a Promissory Note for training expenses ($20,000) incurred while obtaining an aircraft type rating. In short, the contract that I signed said that I was required to stay with the company for four years at which time I would not owe the company any of the training costs. If I decided to resign from the company prior to the end of the four-year time period, I would owe them the pro-rated amount. The company would credit me $488.26 for each month of service as an employee. I have since resigned my position with this company and have accepted a position with another airline. The previous company now wants me to pay them the $20,000. Many pilots that I know are faced with this same dilemma which is a common practice in the aviation industry. What, if any, legal recourse do I have to defer or delay indefinately payment/collection of this obligation?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Repayment of training expenses
Generally, a contract made prior to the training that requires an employee to repay training expenses an employer incurred to qualify that employee for a particular position will be legally enforced, if the contract is reasonable. Practically speaking, since employees do have several potential defenses to any action to recover the payment and since litigation is expensive, these agreements often are not enforced. If an employer initiates litigation, a compromise can be negotiated. See an attorney to review your particular situation. Good luck to you.