Not Paying Back Signing Bonus

Interesting thing I've heard in the past couple of months about not paying back a signing bonus without repercussions. Know 2 people who left early at my MM and they apparently just ignored all calls / emails about paying it back and didn't see anything negative come about from it (hated it so no concerns about burning bridges). No hits to credit score or anything. Is this unique? Guessing any individual instance of <10k isn't worth it to litigate and hire a lawyer or something to have it be settled in civil court for less than that most likely, but surprised these aren't just transferred to a collections agency or something.

FYI doesn't even apply to me as i'm a 3rd year, just wondering what others have experienced.

Comments (18)

Apr 5, 2018 - 1:03pm
EnergyHOU, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not a banker but contacts of mine that have moved around or left industry heard about this stunt and ultimately decided against it. The problem with a civil suit is that IF it is in fact filed, you HAVE to respond or it will go into default judgement in favor of the plaintiff, being the bank. Once the judgement is set, THEN you would presumably begin to see impact on credit, wage garnishing, etc. as is necessary to recoup the funds.

Imagine how much of a PITA it would be if your debt gets sold off to those crooked debt collectors, changing hands every few months as it trickled down.

Apr 6, 2018 - 12:49pm
StoicHoosier, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I managed to negotiate my way out of repaying my singing bonus at a F250 firm. Had a technical skill that they valued and told them that I would answer their calls after I left, if they had any questions, and they agreed to not force me to repay. Also helped that I solid relationship with people and left on a good note

Best Response
Apr 6, 2018 - 5:24pm
HighlyClevered, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I wouldn't be so sure. I'm not a lawyer, so take my speculation with a grain of salt. While it would make sense to laypersons like you and me for the company to just offset by withholding the paycheck, I think employment law makes this a bad idea. The law is generally set up to protect wage earners. The signing bonus may be in dispute, but the wages earned during the last two weeks are not, and they're separate issues. I think the courts would take a pretty dim view of employers who withhold wages for leverage in other cases. I expect there's a lot of legal nuance to these types of situations, and that generally, most corporations would avoid the risk of running afoul of employment laws over 2 weeks of someone's pay.

  • 5
Apr 17, 2018 - 3:49pm
Pesca-pescatarian, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Especially if you're going to a direct competitor. Compliance will force you out the door (politely).

At least in banking.

Maximum effort.
Apr 6, 2018 - 9:37pm
Going Concern, what's your opinion? Comment below:
My roommate worked at Jefferies.

He quit early and kept his signing bonus, and moved out. Jefferies sent like 5 pieces of mail, and then stopped. Met him at another roommate's wedding recently and they basically let it go. Was $10k

Yeah, but it's Jefferies. I think they need every k they can get. Refer to Leveraged Sellout for more info

Apr 6, 2018 - 8:26pm
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My bonus had a clause where you give them rights to pull from the same account where you direct deposit is. Regardless of when you quit and if it was payday or not, they basically could withdraw. Also, you were on the hook for the full pre-tax amount.

  • 1
Apr 7, 2018 - 8:54am
Insomnia_Banker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I know that if you work at a BB that also has a retail branch (e.g. HSBC/Barc/Deutsche) the contract 'recommends' you to have your compensation be deposited in an account at their retail branch. Then a bit further the contract will state that in case you leave early they are allowed to claw back any payments they made to you from any deposits you hold at at one of their group companies. So my advise, get an account at an other bank then you work.

Apr 7, 2018 - 10:53am
Auto, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you quit early and management doesn't do anything, then presumably they don't have an issue. Meaning, there's nothing for a collection agency to collect. And nothing to report to a credit agency.

If management has a problem with you, they'll be in touch.

Jul 31, 2021 - 9:11pm
tamsamsom, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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