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Sign on Bonus

Discussion in 'Employment Contracts & Work Policies' started by Gillberg, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. Gillberg

    Gillberg Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Georgia
    I started with a new company 3 weeks ago and was paid a sign on bonus. My old employer is trying to hire me back. There was not a term limit specified in my offer letter from my current employer. If I were to leave now and go back to my old employer, do I have to repay the sign on bonus if they were to ask for it to be returned?
     
  2. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    If there was no written agreement, you might be okay unless they decide that you made this move fraudulently. And negotiated in bad faith... I will say personally I feel it unethical to keep it.
     
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  3. Gillberg

    Gillberg Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am ok paying back what I received after taxes. Nearly half was hit by federal and state income taxes, so I did not receive the stated amount upfront. The offer letter just stated the amount of the bonus and no stipulations, so if they request the bonus back and I offer what I received after taxes, is there any issues that could arise for the taxed portion that I cannot pay?
     
  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    The larger the bonus is the more likely they will pursue you over it. After only 3 weeks I would expect they could make good arguments against you and that you would be responsible for the full amount before taxes.
     
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  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    How much?

    Maybe not, but there might be another gotcha in there that you aren't understanding. Post an image of the complete letter (redacting identifying information) so we can get a look at it.

    You'll also need to examine any other paperwork that you signed when you "signed on" with the current employer.

    I can't imagine an employer that wouldn't have a precaution in place in case a new employee just took the sign on bonus and left. There might also be an implied warranty that you stay on the job for a reasonable amount of time, the word "reasonable" being interpreted by a court of law.

    You pay back the whole thing and whatever was sent to the taxing authorities you get back at the end of the year or the employer gets to issue a withholding credit on his account.

    The entire amount was INCOME. Returning it gets you a credit against income for that amount so you pay no tax on it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
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  6. Gillberg

    Gillberg Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Here is a copy of what I was offered
     

    Attached Files:

  7. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    All that tells me is that, for $20,000, they will land on you with both feet if you leave with the money after three weeks. Garonteed.

    Anyway, post the rest of the offer letter. I'm sure that there is more to it after that one section.
     
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  8. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    Since that was a summary I wonder if there is something else that you just do not remember signing. And yes for $20k, I would expect some legal action on their part.
     
  9. Gillberg

    Gillberg Law Topic Starter New Member

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    That is all they gave me
     
  10. Gillberg

    Gillberg Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I did the normal new hire paperwork, but this is the only info I received.
     
  11. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I'm guessing you didn't keep copies of any of that stuff.

    Oh, well.

    As I wrote earlier, I don't think they will let you walk away with $20,000 after only 3 weeks.
     
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  12. Gillberg

    Gillberg Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you all for your advice!
     
  13. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If your former employer wants you back desperately, he or she will gladly make the current employer whole to the tune of $20,000 and everyone lived happily ever after.
     

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