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Do I have a case if my employer is seeking tuition reimbursement from me and their policy cleary states that I do not owe them?

Irving, TX |

I received tuition reimbursement from my employer last year 2012 totaling $1800. According to all documents that have been signed by management and myself, I do not need to pay back the reimbursement if I have not received a degree. It is now 2013 and I have provided my employer with my two weeks notice. I still have not received a degree. I have been contacted by my HR department and have been told that I will need to pay back all of the tuition reimbursement regardless of whether or not I have received a degree because the company feels that they have invested in me. They have offered my the option of receiving my last paycheck with my hours reduced to a hourly rate of the minimum wage in TX and the difference going toward the reimbursement. Do I have a valid legal case?

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Attorney answers 2

Best Answer

You need to have a local employment attorney review the agreement. Even if there was no requirement that you receive a degree, there may have been a term that requires you to pay your employer back if you quit your job within a certain period of time. This type of term is common, because employers want to protect their investment. It all depends on what the agreement says. You can search for an attorney on Avvo or contact the National Employment Lawyers Association for a referral.

This answer is provided for guidance only. DO NOT rely on it as legal advice. We DO NOT have an attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney in your area for a one-on-one consultation before pursuing any action or making any decisions.


In most states, the employer cannot deduct debts from your last paycheck unless you give written permission. Check with a TX lawyer and the TX labor board. If your written agreement does not authorize the deduction, then why allow them to do what the law will not permit?

Again, I am in CA and not licensed to practice in TX. Check with a TX lawyer.

David A. Mallen offers answers on Avvo for general information only. This offer of free, general answers is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. If you need specific advice regarding your legal question, you should consult an attorney confidentially. Many experienced California labor and employment attorneys, including David A. Mallen offer no-risk legal consultations to employers and employees at no charge. David A. Mallen is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, as well as the California Labor Commissioner and the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. Failure to take legal action within the time periods prescribed by law could result in the loss of important legal rights and remedies.

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