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Hi,

I know I will get good advise here so I'm posting this here.

- I accepted the position with company 'A'. They promised me that they will give me 10K as sign on bonus.

- I joined this company on 1st Sept. Signed up for direct deposit. and they paid me 10K (6k after taxed) on Sept 15th with my first pay check.

- On 20 Sept I realized that job is not going good and I left the job.

- 3 days later, company 'dipped' into my account and took back 6K they paid for sign on bonus.

- I reviewed my offer letter and I DID NOT sign anything which says I have to pay back my sign on bonus.


What are my options? Company is refusing to answer my voice mail/emails.

Anyone faced similar situations? How can I get my money back? Can this company legally take the money from my account?

Thank You
- Tom Mormile

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Yes, but IIRC D&D trolls reproduce by fission, having no genitalia. That kind of explains things.

kamalktk (Oct. 01, 2007 @ 3:10p) |

i have only ever worked for one employer who could manage to pay me by direct deposit so soon. i guess they were really... (more)

henare (Oct. 04, 2007 @ 3:39a) |

Hey, it was good enough for OJ!

Oops, I guess that didn't work out too well for him.

billrubin (Oct. 26, 2007 @ 12:52a) |

I bet people would yell foul if their AOR bonus money was taken away like this when the bank cancels the card and reverse any bonus $$/credits/points.
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I'm pretty sure there's a clause in your employment contract (not your offer letter) requiring that you pay back the bonus if you leave within X amount of time.

Do you really think you deserve to keep the $10K for 3 weeks of work?

So you worked less than 3 weeks, Gave no notice when you quit and think you're entitled to keep the bonus? Are you a moron. You cost the company money, Wasted training and they had to match some of the taxes on that bonus. grow up

TomMormile said: Can this company legally take the money from my account?


If you really just showed up on the 20th and said F it, I'm really hoping the answer to this question is yes.

Just wow.

You got suckered because you didn't leave the job on the 17th instead of the 20th and you didn't close the account right away.

Here's a suggestion: break into the company on the weekend and take 6k worth of computer equipment (better make it 10k to cover your eBay and paypal fees and taxes).

Is there more to the story than your OP? Were you let go or did you quit of your own free will? Assuming you werent let go, at the time that you joined Company A, did you have a good faith intention of being in their employment for the long run (as opposed to just getting the sign-on bonus and jumping ship to another offer that you already had or were negotiating? Curious minds want to know. But your leaving with no notice and company refusing to answer your calls/emails says something.

As for as your options for getting back your bonus (and I am not saying you deserve it), read your offer letter and employment contract very carefully to see what it says about sign-on bonus. Assuming there is nothing in there that prevents you from keeping the bonus, you will need to get professional advice (which I might add would cost you a few grand), perhaps from an attorney specializing in labor/contract law.

Under NACHA rules, your employer does have the right to take back a direct deposit to correct errors. This rule is intended to be used to correct errors like a double deposit or a clerical error like depositing 1234.00 instead of 12.34 and so on. It is not intended to be a self-help remedy when an employer thinks an employee owes them money.

But nonetheless, some employers abuse this right because there is no check in the banking system to prevent them from doing it. I personally think this is wrong. On principle, I don't think you should let the employer get away with it. Contact your bank first thing Monday morning and tell them that you want to file a Regulation E dispute because the withdrawal was unauthorized. They will reverse the withdrawal. (Don't let any peon at your bank talk you out of it.)

But you do have a problem. Yes, your employer most likely has the right to demand their money back, even if they don't have the right to just help themselves to your bank account in order to get it. You are probably going to have to repay them eventually anyway. And just a hint: Get it repaid this year. If you let it drag on into next year, you are going to be screwed from a tax perspective. If you repay it this year, the money won't be taxed -- it will be as if it never happened. If you wait until next year, you'll have to pay tax this year, and then repay the gross amount ($10k) to the employer and then take a deduction on your 2008 tax return.

Edit:
One additional thing to consider: If you don't report the unauthorized electronic withdrawal from your account within 60 days of the first statement on which the withdrawal appears, you will lose the right to dispute any future electronic withdrawals from the same source under Regulation E if the company decides to help itself to some more money from your account (you may still have some rights under NACHA rules).

What's taking so long for him to respond....I want to know why he quit...lol

clampuke said: Under NACHA rules....

not going to quote your whole response, but it was ON TARGET!

no emotion, no blame, JUST LAW!

employer cannot pull it back.... employer can DEMAND you pay, if your agrement included that clause...

get the employer in trouble for abusing the system, and you may get to 10K anyway (pay it back, but then get it in fines/ penalties because they BENT the rules)!

clampuke said: It is not intended to be a self-help remedy when an employer thinks an employee owes them money
OP next time do a bonus-o-rama, sign up for many jobs, collect many bonuses, then quit

Title should be changed to "I am trying to steal from my company. Help me!!."

TomMormile said: Hi,

I know I will get good advise here so I'm posting this here.

- I accepted the position with company 'A'. They promised me that they will give me 10K as sign on bonus.

- I joined this company on 1st Sept. Signed up for direct deposit. and they paid me 10K (6k after taxed) on Sept 15th with my first pay check.

- On 20 Sept I realized that job is not going good and I left the job.

- 3 days later, company 'dipped' into my account and took back 6K they paid for sign on bonus.

- I reviewed my offer letter and I DID NOT sign anything which says I have to pay back my sign on bonus.


What are my options? Company is refusing to answer my voice mail/emails.

Anyone faced similar situations? How can I get my money back? Can this company legally take the money from my account?

Thank You
- Tom Mormile


Preserved.

Technologist said: employer cannot pull it back.... employer can DEMAND you pay, if your agrement included that clause...I'm assuming the employer would just use a collection agency to recover the bonus (assuming a payback clause) if they are forced to give OP back the $10K.

I just hope OP doesn't plan on working in the same industry, since he's seriously burned some bridges here.

I'm not a pro but wondering, wouldn't certain rules and guidlines need to gfollowed so the payout (if paid back) is not used against you at tax time?

This is the best idea ever! Accept 15 new jobs with sign on bonuses and before they realize I've accepted multiple positions, quit, and keep the bonus!

fastethernet said: Title should be changed to "I am trying to steal from my company. Help me!!."

No. His ex-company stole money from him. Whether he is entitled to the bonus SHOULD BE a CIVIL dispute between him and his company. They need to hash it out directly or through formal arbitration/legal channels. If I was him, I file a report with the bank that it was an illegal transfer. Its simply wrong for a company to take money as it wants. I'm not sure why this thread is rated all red. Its very clear that the company did something illegal and this could happen to anyone at any time.

What if the person has been working for 10 years and received a huge bonus and then quits at that moment? Company still has no right to steal your money unless they stipulated the bonus money. In my experience with bonuses, there's usually no stipulation. So it really shouldn't matter this guy worked 1 day, 21 days, or 10 years. The company should have made sure he was going to be a good fit.

I remember in my employment contract that I signed, it allows the company to automatically withdraw my signing bonus if I left before a certain date.

SS7Man said: I'm not sure why this thread is rated all red.

What if the person has been working for 10 years and received a huge bonus and then quits at that moment? Company still has no right to steal your money unless they stipulated the bonus money. In my experience with bonuses, there's usually no stipulation. So it really shouldn't matter this guy worked 1 day, 21 days, or 10 years. The company should have made sure he was going to be a good fit.


I'm pretty sure this is an instance of rating the person, not the thread (I'm at least speaking for myself here).

There's a huge difference in your scenario. (As an aside, these What Ifs always make me think of the Monty Python sketch in which they are learning to defend themselves from attackers with fruit..."suppose he's got a pointed stick!") Generally bonuses (aside from perhaps retention bonuses) to current employees are given in consideration for work already done, and so his staying or leaving has no bearing on them (and thus the lack of stipulations).

In my experience with sign-on bonuses, there is proration...and for exactly this reason. And, I might add, rightfully so (if only to stymie MikeR's job AOR).

As for the the fit comment...I'm sure people are never different in interviews than they are in day to day interaction .

SS7Man said: In my experience with bonuses, there's usually no stipulation. So it really shouldn't matter this guy worked 1 day, 21 days, or 10 years. The company should have made sure he was going to be a good fit.

Really? Do you really think most companies are that stupid? I've never heard of a company offering a substantial signing bonus without having some sort of clause stating that it would be forfeited if the employee left within X number of months.

Auream said: SS7Man said: In my experience with bonuses, there's usually no stipulation. So it really shouldn't matter this guy worked 1 day, 21 days, or 10 years. The company should have made sure he was going to be a good fit.

Really? Do you really think most companies are that stupid? I've never heard of a company offering a substantial signing bonus without having some sort of clause stating that it would be forfeited if the employee left within X number of months.
My experience is forfeiture in full, or prorated, depending on the length of "protection" and when the employee leaves

MikeR397 said: This is the best idea ever! Accept 15 new jobs with sign on bonuses and before they realize I've accepted multiple positions, quit, and keep the bonus!You mean a Job-O-Rama?

MikeR397 said: This is the best idea ever! Accept 15 new jobs with sign on bonuses and before they realize I've accepted multiple positions, quit, and keep the bonus!

Be sure to have a plan to ACH it offshore too.

jayK said: Technologist said: employer cannot pull it back.... employer can DEMAND you pay, if your agrement included that clause...I'm assuming the employer would just use a collection agency to recover the bonus (assuming a payback clause) if they are forced to give OP back the $10K.

I just hope OP doesn't plan on working in the same industry, since he's seriously burned some bridges here.


I appreciate your input.... but "collection agency" is step 3


Step 1 is ask employee to pay back money

step 2 is sue...

step 3 is collection agency

No where is the step that allows business to arbitrarily go into the employees account and reverse a payment!!!!!

they paid, they lost, they fight!!!

*not saying that op is right in what he did..... but the law is the law!*

step

SOMEBODY???? said:
I'm pretty sure this is an instance of rating the person, not the thread (I'm at least speaking for myself here).



Exactly..... lost the quote (because of edits) but this is a legal issue.... who cares what the op did... right or wrong (in our minds), THE EMPLOYER is wrong in what they did!!!!!!!

As tazzy531 pointed out, it may well be within the employment contract - the employer may be AUTHORIZED to withdraw the sign-on bonus unless a certain condition (X amount of time) has been met.

It would be another matter if the unannounced withdrawal resulted in NSF fees applied to ex-employee if the money weren't in the account.



Technologist said: SOMEBODY???? said:
I'm pretty sure this is an instance of rating the person, not the thread (I'm at least speaking for myself here).



Exactly..... lost the quote (because of edits) but this is a legal issue.... who cares what the op did... right or wrong (in our minds), THE EMPLOYER is wrong in what they did!!!!!!!

Technologist said:

I appreciate your input.... but "collection agency" is step 3


Step 1 is ask employee to pay back money

step 2 is sue...

step 3 is collection agency

No where is the step that allows business to arbitrarily go into the employees account and reverse a payment!!!!!

they paid, they lost, they fight!!!

*not saying that op is right in what he did..... but the law is the law!*

step

I bet the company is much smarter than the OP and they were in their rights to pull it back. Most companies know what they are doing and terms were probably in some long form. OP should drop it now count himself lucky he's getting to keep what got. If it goes to fight I'm sure company would demand he paid back the full $10k

He's not keeping anything. Net of taxes, they pulled it all back

Im going to go against what most people have posted...and actually tell OP what he/she wants to hear:

OP, if you truly believe you dont have to repay the signon bonus, there was no agreement that you would repay it, and believe your employers "stealing it back" was improper, its very simple and FREE to file a complaint with the LABOR COMMISSIONER. They will investigate this on your behalf, FOR FREE, and if the employer did indeed do something wrong, you will likely get the bonus back, plus penalties (extra $$). You may have to attend a hearing, but may even be able to get out of that if the employers knows they did something wrong and just gives the $$ back to you.

Sure he can go that route and be a loser with no moral sense. The company acted in good faith by giving him a bonus for his employment, All we know right now is he did not like the job and quit with no notice. So why not be an adult and act in good faith and drop it?

Two wrongs don't make a right.
If you owed somebody $100 and, before asking you to pay up, the person just broke into your house while you were at work and took the $100 out of your desk drawer, would you just act like an adult and drop it?

clampuke said: Two wrongs don't make a right.
If you owed somebody $100 and, before asking you to pay up, the person just broke into your house while you were at work and took the $100 out of your desk drawer, would you just act like an adult and drop it?

Well this is not what happened to OP. In his situation I would know I didn't deserve to keep the bonus and would not pursue it any further.

Your example is not entirely relevant. A better example would be a setup where you gave a friend your ATM card with the PIN code and tell that person to get the money should you forget (or not be able to) give whatever you owed in person on a specified date.

clampuke said: Two wrongs don't make a right.
If you owed somebody $100 and, before asking you to pay up, the person just broke into your house while you were at work and took the $100 out of your desk drawer, would you just act like an adult and drop it?

we dont know enough to determine whether the employers actions are improper - sure it sounds bad to work for a place for a few weeks then quit and try to keep the bonus.

But if OP has no obligation to repay the bonus, the employer may indeed have acted improperly. Let the Labor Commissioner do the investigation, and they will tell either OP or the employer who is correct.

SUCKISSTAPLES said: we dont know enough to determine whether the employers actions are improper - sure it sounds bad to work for a place for a few weeks then quit and try to keep the bonus.

But if OP has no obligation to repay the bonus, the employer may indeed have acted improperly. Let the Labor Commissioner do the investigation, and they will tell either OP or the employer who is correct.

Then the OP should come back and fill us in on the details. For now all I can base it on is how it reads. I would not need the Labor Commission, The Courts or FWF to tell me what the right thing to do is

tazzy531 said: I remember in my employment contract that I signed, it allows the company to automatically withdraw my signing bonus if I left before a certain date.And so, dear readers, the answer to OP's question would seem to depend in large part on what he has authorized his employer to do by way of his employment agreement. Go read it carefully, OP, and report back.

Learn from your mistakes. The checking account that you are using for direct deposit, PayPal, etc, should only have enough in it to cover the checks you are writing. Most of the excess money should be transferred into another account.

most companies have an employee agreement, sometimes called a Key Agreement which would specify your terms.

everyone should always review the agreement before signing. most companies make you pay back signing bonus, any training you received, tuition reimbursement, your rights to arbitration, etc.

scott1961 said: SUCKISSTAPLES said: we dont know enough to determine whether the employers actions are improper - sure it sounds bad to work for a place for a few weeks then quit and try to keep the bonus.

But if OP has no obligation to repay the bonus, the employer may indeed have acted improperly. Let the Labor Commissioner do the investigation, and they will tell either OP or the employer who is correct.

Then the OP should come back and fill us in on the details. For now all I can base it on is how it reads. I would not need the Labor Commission, The Courts or FWF to tell me what the right thing to do is


CreditCardCompany: "Hey, you took our "signing bonus" aka a 0% rate, ran with the bonus, and then "quit" our company the instant the bonus period ended (Scott says he closes his new cards)." "Be a man and give back all the sign up bonuses and interest from doing business with our company".

Are you going to do "what the right thing" is?

That being said, I work in a small industry with 5-8 major companies. I sure hope the OP never intend to work for that company again.....or any company that the 3-5 layers of management above the OP transfer to during the next few years of their respective careers.

What the OP did is incredibly slimy without a doubt. But from a legal standpoint I don't see much distinction between what he did (assuming there really was no pay back contract/clause/notificaiton) and what you (and I) do with credit cards.

The signing bonus was to get the OP to "join" the company and for future work which would give the company future profits.

Credit card bonuses are to get Scott to "join" the company as a customer and for future purchases which would give the company future profits.

I'm highly suspicious of the OP's story that there is a company that can swing a $15K sign on bonus and is organized enough to direct deposit but is so utterly clueless that they let their employees walk through the door the first having never signed an actual piece of paper with regards to their employment.

But what is the use arguing when only the OP and employer know the situation? As much as I want the OP to repay the amount (or keep it repaid) as the story stands, I don't see why they should have to (other than to avoid being a jack-ass and probably getting black-listed in the industry).

Skipping 25 Messages...
clampuke said: Two wrongs don't make a right.
If you owed somebody $100 and, before asking you to pay up, the person just broke into your house while you were at work and took the $100 out of your desk drawer, would you just act like an adult and drop it?
Hey, it was good enough for OJ!

Oops, I guess that didn't work out too well for him.



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