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"Just When I Thought I Was Out ...": Post-Employment Repayment Obligations
Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice (2018)
  • Eric M Fink
  • Stuart Lichten
Post-employment repayment obligations expose employees to significant financial risk if they exercise their fundamental right to quit a job at-will. By deterring employees from leaving, such provisions give employers even more power over employees, leaving workers even more vulnerable to exploitation while they remain in the job. By permitting employers to demand payment as the price of leaving, they extend the site of exploitation to the exit door.

Common-law courts have for over a century scrutinized noncompete agreements and denied enforcement where the terms are unreasonable. A similar framework should apply to other post-employment obligations, ensuring that the terms are reasonably drawn to protect a valid employer interest, without imposing unjust burdens on employees or erecting excessive barriers to labor market mobility. Furthermore, employers should not be permitted to impose post-employment repayment obligations under the guise of liquidated damages, but should be required to establish the basis for any amounts they seek to recoup for relocation expenses, training costs, or advanced payment of employee compensation. If courts decline to apply these established common law principles to post-employment repayment obligations, legislatures should adopt remedial measures.
  • employment,
  • contracts,
  • at-will,
  • exploitation
Publication Date
Fall 2018
Citation Information
Eric M Fink and Stuart Lichten. ""Just When I Thought I Was Out ...": Post-Employment Repayment Obligations" Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice Vol. 25 Iss. 1 (2018) p. 51
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Creative Commons license
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons CC_BY-NC-SA International License.