I was offered a high-paying job in mid-2013 with a target start date of January, 2014. For a number of reasons, I have decided to take another job in January instead and renege on my signed offer from mid-2013. I received a sign-on bonus as well.
What can the employer legally do, besides ask that I return the sign-on bonus? Can they sue me for breach of contract or anything else?
Pleaes note: this is at-will employment, as stated in the offer letter I signed.
If there was no contract, then there would realistically be no consequences. However, if you received a sign-on bonus it is likely that there was a written agreement of some kind before you received those funds.
If there was an agreement we are unable to answer your question without first reviewing that agreement.
This answer does not constitute legal advice and you should contact an attorney to confirm or research further any statements made in this answer. Any statements of fact or law I have made in this answer pertain solely to New York State and should not be relied upon in any way in any other jurisdiction. Additionally, we also encourage you to reach out to us via Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/employattorney) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/WhiteRicottaandMarks) if you have follow up questions as we do not monitor questions after providing an initial answer.
If you did not receive this offer through a head hunter, probably not, but you may want to have an attorney review the letter to be sure.