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What is my obligation regarding the repayment of a sign-on bonus?

Question Details: I accepted an offer of employment that had a $10,000 sign-on bonus; there was an agreement to repay the gross amount, in percentage received, if terminated early. The agreement stated that I was to receive payment on the first pay period following my first day of employment. I can clearly demonstrate that I did not get paid until well over a month after starting. The agreement stated 2 payments of$ 5,000 with the second payment at my 6 month mark. The first check was a paper check and the amount was $5000 minus taxes. I returned the check to them and told them they could keep the check because as per my agreement, I was to get $5000. I told them that if they could not give me the amount stated on the agreement, that I would be seeking different employment. So, they agreed, and $5000 was deposited into my account. No further paperwork was given to me about this as I was under the impression that I would be responsible for taxes on my own. Yea, stupid me for assuming anything. So, I ended up terminating my employment due to unsafe conditions in the facility that I was working in and exposure to asbestos fiber (they only informed me after the fact that the boiler I was working on contained asbestos). I fully expected and intended on paying back the money received as per the agreement. I was then asked to repay an amount based on $7500. I said no way. They increased of inflated the bonus amount to $7500 in order to give me a net $5000. No new contract was made, nor was I aware that this is what they did. My paystub says $5000 relocation allowance, and a $2000 sign-on bonus. Those 2 figures totaled what I was asked to repay. Am I screwed and have to just pay whatever they ask? If so, what are the consequences of just refusing to repay.

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