Have a question about breaking an employment agreement and being sued civilly across international borders. Manager and

Expert's Assistant chat
Customer: Have a question about breaking an employment agreement and being sued civilly across international borders.
JA: Was this discussed with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: manager and hr
JA: Is the workplace "at will" or union? Is the job hourly or salaried?
Customer: salaried
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Answered by Chris The Lawyer in 6 hours 2 years ago
imglogo
Chris The Lawyer
10+ years of experience
logo

42042 Satisfied customers

Expert in: Family Law, Legal, Estate Law, Real Estate Law, Criminal Law, Employment Law, Business Law, Consumer Protection Law, Bankruptcy Law, Traffic Law, Personal Injury Law.

logoimgimgVerified lawyers, 10+ years of experience
Chat with a Lawyer in minutes, 24/7
imglogo

Verified lawyers, 10+ years of experience

Save time and money. Get specialized help.

imglogo
Chris The Lawyer
10+ years of experience
logo

42042 Satisfied customers

Jessica

Jessica

Consultant

31,131 Satisfied customers

Pearl avatar
Lawyer's, Assistant
14 Lawyers are online right now.
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Hi
I am a New Zealand lawyer based in Wellington and will help you with your question today. Please give me a minute to read the question

img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Do you want to resign and is there a restraint of trade clause?

Customer
I have already given notice of resignation for May 1st. I relocated from the US, and the company is based in the US. However this is their NZ division. They are saying (and the signed contract states) that I have to pay back 100% of relocation costs. I am wondering what happens if I just leave and don't pay them, because I believe it's unreasonable to pay the full value back, and they won't budge. Can they sue across borders, or would it just stay in NZ?
Customer
I can send you the contract if that helps, and a list of what they expect me to pay back.
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Does the contract say which country has jurisdiction? If it is New Zealand then it would be hard for them to chase you for the money, but if it is the US then much easier. Is the reason that the job was not what was represented?

Customer
Have a look:
Customer
See attached
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

It doesn't state that this is NZ law, but it would be as it is an employment contract under New Zealand terms. So they could get a judgment in a NZ court for the costs, but would need to bring it to the US state you move back to, and get that state court to recognise the NZ judgment and then try to enforce. It may be an expensive exercise for them, and would depend on how annoyed they are

Customer
What are your thoughts on the jurisdiction? It always says NZ after it says Kohler... which makes me think it's a separate entity... but I need to be 100% sure that there's no precedent saying otherwise, because Kohler is an American company.
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

You are employed by an NZ company-Kohler New Zealand Limited, so NZ law applies

Customer
OK, that helps. So say they come after me in the US state that I move to, if that goes through, would I be responsible for their lawyer fees, etc.. as well? Just trying to gauge if it's worth it.
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

They can claim legal fees as part of a claim

Customer
OK, understood. Thank you for your help
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

As you realise there is a balancing of risks as to whether they will go to the trouble

Customer
Yeah, I do understand that. Question: as you read that contract - if I were to get fired, whether for cause or not, would I owe them anything?
Customer
I know that’s an odd question, but I’m switching careers, and being fired won’t affect me all that negatively.
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

The contract appears to make the relocation payment owing if you leave, but is silent if you are fired.

Customer
as you read it, if I’m fired, I wouldn’t owe them relocation costs?
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Probably-they may say it is implied, but the specific nature of the clause may provide a defence

Customer
Understood. It’s just isn’t written anywhere which does make me feel like it’s much more defendable.
Customer
Any other thoughts you have pertaining to the matter that I’m possibly overlooking?
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Perhaps see if they will take a payment on account-these clause are common in expat contracts-and can be enforced fairly easily (in New Zealand I mean)

Customer
What do you mean by payment on account?
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

A part payment to settle in full rather than the full amount, as otherwise they would need to pay for lawyers

Customer
Gotcha, I’ll try to chat with them to discuss a compromise. Thanks again.
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!

Ask a lawyer and get your legal questions answered.
See all Legal Questions
img
Related Legal Questions
How it works
logoAsk for help, 24/7
Ask for help, 24/7
Members enjoy round-the-clock access to 12,000+ verified Experts, including doctors, lawyers, tech support, mechanics, vets, home repair pros, more.
logoExpert will respond in minutes
Expert will respond in minutes
After you reach out, we match you with an Expert who specializes in your situation. Talk, text, chat, whichever you prefer.
logoSave time & money
Save time & money
No scheduling hassles, missing time from work, or expensive consults.
A JustAnswer membership can save you significant time and money each month.
img
logo 593 Verified lawyers, 10+ years of experience
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on Askalawyeroncall.com are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. Askalawyeroncall.com is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response as proposing specific action or addressing your specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances should be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on any information received from an Expert, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains. The responses above are from independent, freelance Experts, who are not employed by Askalawyeroncall.com . The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credentials of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service.
Explore law categories
Powered by JustAnswer