What can I do if my employer refuses to provide a check for a work-funded scholarship?
Question Details: I work at a nursing home. It offers a scholarship to be used for educational purposes. I applied and was offered a scholarship worth $1,500. I signed a letter acknowledging my acceptance of this scholarship. I put my 2 weeks in after signing said document because I am moving to pursue education in a different city. Despite receiving verbal confirmation after acceptance that my departure will not affect the scholarship, my employer has since decided not to award me these funds. They do not cite any violation of the application or signed documentation, only that they "do not feel I should receive them if I am leaving the business". The amount of my scholarship was redistributed to other applicants. There is no language in either the application or acceptance document indicating that employment must continue after acceptance of the scholarship or that acceptance/receipt of the funds is in any way related to employment status. Is it legal for them to withhold scholarship funds offered to and accepted by me if I am not in violation of the agreement? Does this arrangement qualify as a binding agreement?
You can't do anything: they do not have to give you the scholarship. They may have promised to give it to you, but that promise was not a binding contract, because they are receiving nothing (no "consideration") in exchange for it--not even your continued employment (which, by the way, could have been sufficient consideration) since you resigned. When the other side receives nothing in exchange for its promise, it is a "gratuitious promise," not a contract, and the other side can renege on it as well--the same as you could offer to house sit for a friend when she travels, then change your mind and refuse to do so and she could not sue you. There is no action you can take to compel them to give you this scholarship.
In addition to the "legal" issue--no consideration from you to bind the agreement--there is an "equitable" or fairness issues that would cause a court to also find against you, were you to try to sue over this. That issue is, it would be considered unfair or inequitiable for you to apply for a scholarship as an employee, then resign essentially the moment you get it. You essentially applied under false pretenses--as an employee, when you were not intending to remain one--and tried to take money which was obviously to be used to reward or incentivize employees when you were no longer going to work there. A court will not support or reward such inequitable behavior.