My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Florida
Trying to be as concise yet descriptive as possible. Feedback is appreciated!
I signed a tuition reimbursement agreement with a former employer that called for payback if I departed before 24 months with the company after graduation. I departed the company before the 24 months’ time for reasons that I felt significantly impacted my professional growth and development. I made the decision to leave the company knowing that I would have to repay the balance of the tuition reimbursement.
I left the company after the end of the fiscal year and monies due to me for performance bonus and vacation days were withheld.
After leaving the company I tried for 6 months to obtain a balance due net of the money withheld, however the company never replied to my attempts to clarify the balances due net of monies they withheld or repayment terms. Nonetheless, I have been repaying for approximately 15 months at a reasonable amount I chose to pay based on what I can afford as no structure was ever set for repayment. I have not heard from the company for nearly 2 years until recently. They have been cashing the checks I send in monthly. Each check has clearly stated in the memo that the money is toward a tuition balance net of monies withheld.
The company has recently contacted me to collect the entire balance immediately and they are not honoring those withheld monies due to me; specifically the performance bonus. They are demanding complete payment. The company states that I am not eligible for the performance bonus because I chose to leave the company.
I have offered them payment in full net of the money owed to me, however they have not agreed to this.
- I have an executed employment contract that defines the performance bonus and vacation terms.
- I left the company after the end of the fiscal year and received excellent recorded reviews from my colleagues and supervisor, therefore ‘earning’ the performance bonus.
- Every check I have written, and the company has cashed, over the past 15 months has the following in text in the memo: “For tuition balance net of performance bonus and vacation days”
- The tuition reimbursement agreement never cites a structure or term for payback. It is a very simple document drafted without legal guidance.
- Do I have a case for claiming the performance bonus due since I worked the full fiscal year and met the performance requirements?
- If I have offered them payment in full net of the bonus, would they be better off taking that option or proceeding with legal action against me? Paying them in full on the balance net of monies due to me is approximately 65% of the total amount they claim I owe them.
- What would be the overall best course of action?