Super Lawyers
yelp badge
Lawyers of Distinction
Pasadena Top Attorneys 2022
American Immigration Lawyers Association

Employees Can Be Required to Repay Education Expenses to Employer

Thomas M. Lee

The Court of Appeal in USS-POSCO Industries v. Case (Cal.App. 1/26/16) recently held that an employer may require an employee to repay education expenses. In this case, the Defendant employee voluntarily enrolled in a three-year, employer-sponsored educational program. He agreed in writing that if he quit his job within 30 months of completing the program, he would reimburse his employer a prorated portion of program costs. Two months after completing the program, the employee went to work for another employer. When he refused to reimburse the employer, the company sued for breach of contract and unjust enrichment. In granting the employer’s motion for summary judgment, the Court reasoned that the employer’s voluntary, optional training program was just that – completely voluntary. The employee did not have to take the course, and the employer did not force him to do so.

The Court also held that the program did not violate Business and Professions Code 16600, which voids “every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind.” Here, the Defendant employee volunteered for the program and agreed to repay the training costs if he left his employment. The agreement did not prohibit or even limit him from working elsewhere, which he in fact did. It only required him to re-pay a prorated part of the training costs.

Finally, the agreement did not violate Labor Code sections 221 to 223, which prohibit employers from recouping, withholding, or secretly paying less than agreed wages.

Please note that the information I am providing here in this entry, or in my website is NOT to be construed as legal advice nor is it meant to form an attorney-client relationship. For a free legal consultation by phone, please call or email me anytime.

Client Reviews

Mr. Lee is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to employment law. I was amazed by his tenacity and skill and in the end, I walked away with a settlement I was very happy about. I highly recommended him to anyone.

Sarah G.

Earlier this year I was very confused about a legal employer/employee situation and needed professional advice. In my desire to move quickly on my situation I spent hours signing up for legal services (e.g. legal shield...

Richard H., Los Angeles, CA

Hands down, the best immigration lawyer in Los Angeles that you could possibly find. Period. After an extremely poor experience with another law firm, which had come highly recommended by one of my company's attorneys...

Robert K., Beverly Hills, CA

My old company was breaking some labor laws and I decided to look for some legal advice. I went to Tom to see what course of action I can take and when we sat down to talk about the details, I decided to hire him and his...

Ethan Y., Orange, CA

It's quite rare to find a lawyer that sincerely cares about your best interest. Most employment lawyers are extremely hungry for business which makes them naturally have their best interest not mine. However, Tom truly...

Jen T., Central LA, Los Angeles, CA

Get in Touch

  1. 1 Free Consultation
  2. 2 Decades of Experience
  3. 3 High Success Record
Fill out the contact form or call us at (213) 251-5533 to schedule your free consultation.

Leave Us a Message