Q. It costs a lot to train new employees, so naturally we are upset when those employees leave. They benefit from the training, and we are out the cost. Can we recover training costs if an employee leaves?
A. Not unless you have a valid contract with the employee concerning this. In North Carolina, an employer and employee can enter into such a contract, addressing training costs. The contract should specifically address the training costs (generally a specific course that the employer is paying for), the length of time the employee must remain in order not to be charged for the costs, the amount the employee must pay back upon early departure and the payment terms.
Generally, the employer may not deduct this training-cost debt from the wages due the employee and must proceed in the same fashion as other debt collections.
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