Legal Question in Business Law in Washington

relocation repayment

In Washington State how binding is a relocation contract. The company I am working for paid for my relocation to the Yakima Valley, I signed a 2 year repayment contract. I did not calculate my salary requirements with enough of a cushion,currently my income leaves me on the brink of not making enough to cover my bills, another job has come available, which pays considerabley more how ever repayment of the moving expenses would leave me in the same boat. So am I locked into a job that is financially leading me towards bankruptsy?.

Asked on 7/14/09, 3:52 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Amir John Showrai The Pacific Law Firm, PLLC

Re: relocation repayment

I am not sure of the size of your employer, but I think a starting point, particularly if this is a small operation would be to approach the boss for a discussion. Explain your situation and if possible, take with you a breakdown of your income and expenses for the boss to see that you are not just making this up. Explain that you really love your job and want to stay, but that you are headed to financial ruin just by virtue of the unexpected costs associated with living where you now live.

Before you do this, make darn sure that you have downsized your housing, automobile, and other flexible or discretionary spending to the point where you boss cannot turn around and suggest that you further downsize your housing or trade in your Infinity for a Hyundai or your car with a $600 payment for used handy-Honda with a $300 payment to make things work. Nobody will sympathize if they see you in a nice house or car that you can't afford it because you bit off more than you could chew.

From that point, the boss may either allow you to leave without penalty, since in this job market, he can probably find an eager replacement for you without having to cover moving costs, and maybe even at a lower rate of pay. Another suggestion is to offer to repay your moving costs on a payment schedule if you new boss allows you to leave. You have not mentioned numbers, but this sounds a lot more workable over time than a one time lump sum payout.

If none of this works out, or your boss is not going to budge, I'd say that your boss can hold you liable. Considering that this is your fault for miscalculating, the boss has done nothing wrong, and you have no defense to enforcement of the contract, I'd say that your boss wins on this one every time. Bankruptcy may be an option, but if you can otherwise meet your obligations and have decent to good credit, this would not be an option I'd pursue if I were you, at least not before trying everything else.

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Answered on 7/15/09, 12:36 pm

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