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Employer asking back relocation expenses, even if the offer letter did not mention the reimbursement requirements

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raj08

New member
I have already asked this question, and got replies from some good Samaritans.
Before giving up, I just want to hear a few more arguments, preferably from someone who knows if there are any state labor laws or some federal laws that say that the state employer must put the reimbursement requirements (that are in the state laws, very clearly) in writing, in the job offer letter, or some other printed document for the employee to sign, before or during the employment, so that the employee was fully aware that the relocation money was being paid on some condition.


My original question was this:
//---
A New Mexico state entity hired me for a job, and they also paid my moving expenses. Things didn't work out for me -purely personal, nothing related to work, and I left voluntarily during the 5th month. After about 3 months of my leaving, the entity sent me an invoice for the moving expenses, stating that because I left within 6 months, I need to reimburse as required by a state law (New Mexico Administrative Code (NM ADC) 2.42.3.14). When they offered me the position, they didn't mention this requirement in the offer letter. They didn't tell me that even verbally, before or during my employment. I am grateful that they paid me the moving expenses, but had they told me that requirement, I would have left after 6 months to avoid this situation. On my final day, they asked me to sign a paper that was too technical for me, but still it did not say anything about reimbursement. (It said something like, "you were hired for project XXX and your salary is paid under the code XXX". I have not signed any document that says I need to reimburse the moving expenses. The employment offer letter that I signed mentions all the other information this is typical in an offer letter, but it does not say a single word about terms of leaving the job. No contention that I was a state employee and the rules are there, but aren't they required to mention the requirement of reimbursement in case of voluntary termination explicitly? Am I required to return the moving allowances? Can they force me to pay that amount, plus their legal expenses should they decide to bring this matter to a court of law?
///--

Summary (some overlaps with my question above):
1. In my job offer letter (the one I signed), they didn't mention anything about the reimbursement requirement.

2. I did not sign any other document that said anything about the reimbursement requirement.

3. I am not disputing that they paid the relocation expenses.
I am saying that they should have mentioned that if I leave job within 6 months, I need to return that relocation expenses.
For me, it was an incentive to take that job offer because they were offering to pay my relocation.
After I was hired, they did, and I am grateful to them for that.
I feel now that it is like someone offers you a gift, but later asks to be paid for it.

4. As people have already noted, the state law is clear about the reimbursement requirement, so if there is no other law that supersedes on the ground that I should have been notified of that requirement in writing and I should have put my signature for the law to be effective, then they have a right to ask me to pay, and I wish to comply with the law.

5. If the law is in my side, I will consider consulting an attorney.
But if consulting/hiring an attorney costs "a lot of" money, and time, I see no point to contest.
(The relocation amount was about $3000)

6. But, since the state entity (my former employer) is insisting that I pay them back, they wouldn't ask if they had not some legal ground, right?
It is not a small private company, but established public educational institution (thereby they get state money, that's why they can apply state legal code).
So I assume they have their lawyers....and they wouldn't ask if the laws were not on their side, right?

Any advice?
 


Just Blue

Senior Member
I have already asked this question, and got replies from some good Samaritans.
Before giving up, I just want to hear a few more arguments, preferably from someone who knows if there are any state labor laws or some federal laws that say that the state employer must put the reimbursement requirements (that are in the state laws, very clearly) in writing, in the job offer letter, or some other printed document for the employee to sign, before or during the employment, so that the employee was fully aware that the relocation money was being paid on some condition.


My original question was this:
//---
A New Mexico state entity hired me for a job, and they also paid my moving expenses. Things didn't work out for me -purely personal, nothing related to work, and I left voluntarily during the 5th month. After about 3 months of my leaving, the entity sent me an invoice for the moving expenses, stating that because I left within 6 months, I need to reimburse as required by a state law (New Mexico Administrative Code (NM ADC) 2.42.3.14). When they offered me the position, they didn't mention this requirement in the offer letter. They didn't tell me that even verbally, before or during my employment. I am grateful that they paid me the moving expenses, but had they told me that requirement, I would have left after 6 months to avoid this situation. On my final day, they asked me to sign a paper that was too technical for me, but still it did not say anything about reimbursement. (It said something like, "you were hired for project XXX and your salary is paid under the code XXX". I have not signed any document that says I need to reimburse the moving expenses. The employment offer letter that I signed mentions all the other information this is typical in an offer letter, but it does not say a single word about terms of leaving the job. No contention that I was a state employee and the rules are there, but aren't they required to mention the requirement of reimbursement in case of voluntary termination explicitly? Am I required to return the moving allowances? Can they force me to pay that amount, plus their legal expenses should they decide to bring this matter to a court of law?
///--

Summary (some overlaps with my question above):
1. In my job offer letter (the one I signed), they didn't mention anything about the reimbursement requirement.

2. I did not sign any other document that said anything about the reimbursement requirement.

3. I am not disputing that they paid the relocation expenses.
I am saying that they should have mentioned that if I leave job within 6 months, I need to return that relocation expenses.
For me, it was an incentive to take that job offer because they were offering to pay my relocation.
After I was hired, they did, and I am grateful to them for that.
I feel now that it is like someone offers you a gift, but later asks to be paid for it.

4. As people have already noted, the state law is clear about the reimbursement requirement, so if there is no other law that supersedes on the ground that I should have been notified of that requirement in writing and I should have put my signature for the law to be effective, then they have a right to ask me to pay, and I wish to comply with the law.

5. If the law is in my side, I will consider consulting an attorney.
But if consulting/hiring an attorney costs "a lot of" money, and time, I see no point to contest.
(The relocation amount was about $3000)

6. But, since the state entity (my former employer) is insisting that I pay them back, they wouldn't ask if they had not some legal ground, right?
It is not a small private company, but established public educational institution (thereby they get state money, that's why they can apply state legal code).
So I assume they have their lawyers....and they wouldn't ask if the laws were not on their side, right?

Any advice?
You delete that thread with the advice from the volunteers who took their time to advise you. Why should they do it over again?
 

raj08

New member
I am grateful for the advice I have received from the members of this forum, and I made a bad judgement deleting the thread. I regret it.

To the forum admins, thank you for unlocking this thread.

To all, I want to hear a few more arguments from the labor law's viewpoint, that if there are any NM or federal laws that can supersede NM ADC 2.42.3.14 on the grounds that they didn't inform me the reimbursement requirements in writing.

If I have no legal ground, I intend to comply.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
To all, I want to hear a few more arguments from the labor law's viewpoint, that if there are any NM or federal laws that can supersede NM ADC 2.42.3.14 on the grounds that they didn't inform me the reimbursement requirements in writing.
No federal law regulates state/local government relocation expense reimbursement repayment. That is a matter of state law. As I said in your previous thread, neither the ADC rule that you cited nor the state statute that authorizes it requires prior notice to the employee that leaving within 6 months will trigger a requirement to repayment the moving reimbursement. So unless you can find a NM law that took effect after the state law that authorized the state to promulgate the reimbursement rules that would require notice I think you are stuck. I'm not aware of any such statute, but you may want to consult a NM attorney who is familiar with NM state government employment rules to see if you have anything to work with here. A lot of attorneys do give free initial consultations so it wouldn't hurt for you to check that out.
 

raj08

New member
No federal law regulates state/local government relocation expense reimbursement repayment. That is a matter of state law. As I said in your previous thread, neither the ADC rule that you cited nor the state statute that authorizes it requires prior notice to the employee that leaving within 6 months will trigger a requirement to repayment the moving reimbursement. So unless you can find a NM law that took effect after the state law that authorized the state to promulgate the reimbursement rules that would require notice I think you are stuck. I'm not aware of any such statute, but you may want to consult a NM attorney who is familiar with NM state government employment rules to see if you have anything to work with here. A lot of attorneys do give free initial consultations so it wouldn't hurt for you to check that out.
Thank you again for your comments.
Yes, I think I will be making a few calls before giving it up completely.
 

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