The courts have also gone the other way. In Los Angeles in 2015, a fourth district appeals court made an unpublished statement that former police officers who left the LAPD could not be forced to repay their training to the city. Because the city implemented a larger and more expensive training program than minimum certification, it became an employer-imposed burden that the city had to bear, not public servants, the panel concluded. The refund contract was found to be unenforceable. We are often asked to develop this type of agreement for employers and to determine whether they are applicable. As usual, the answer to the question of whether the agreement is applicable is that it depends on the circumstances and how the agreement was developed. The applicability of a training reimbursement agreement can really be questioned on two legal grounds: first, because it is a punitive clause and, second, because it limits trade. I will look at them one after the other. For example, if an employer sends someone on a course that costs the employer $2,000 and the worker leaves his or her job immediately after the end of the course, the employer has not benefited from his investment and could, through a duly drawn-in agreement, legally recover the $2,000. However, if the worker left his or her job after 3 years, then the employer clearly has the benefits of the training for 3 years, so that if they try to recover the $2000, that would be unenforceable, because it would not reflect the loss of the employer. It would probably not be applicable either, given that these are trade restrictions, and we will look at that below. However, if the agreement is properly developed, the employer can generally recover some of the costs of a magnitude that decreases over time, so that after one year after the price closes, for example, they must repay 50% and nothing after 2 years.
The numbers on the sliding scale depend on the costs associated with them, and we can discuss them when developing agreements. For many companies that want to develop staff and skills in response to talent shortages, investment in learning can be considerable. What happens when a company invests in staff training, when it stops before the employer sees an advantage of training? Can companies recoup their investments? This “training” factor can be particularly important, says Sam Caucci, CEO and founder of 1Huddle, a platform for worker training. In particular, when a staff member receives certifications that may be useful elsewhere, it may be helpful to get a refund. But agreements must be drafted correctly to survive the courts. “You can`t see that the employee is being penalized, but only to compensate the employer,” he noted. As has already been said, the other basis on which reimbursement of training costs cannot be imposed if it is restreignable.