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I recently quit my Job in Belgium and moved to Canada. During my employment in Belgium, the company had paid for my annual train pass as a benefit. Now I have received an email from them demanding me to reimburse them with the cost of train pass for the remaining part of the year (which is around $2000!).

Two questions: 1. Is it fair for them to ask for this money? I mean, I cannot use that benefit anymore (as I have left Belgium) and it is not my fault that train passes are issued in yearly basis. 2. If I decline to pay this money, would I be in trouble? Could they sue me?

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    Time to review your contract and consult a lawyer. – Seth R Nov 9 '17 at 19:24
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    Did you return the train card to them when you left? – Erik Nov 9 '17 at 19:36
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    Are thet aware you returned the pass? Maybe they think you still have it. – Zefiryn Nov 9 '17 at 21:40
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    It would depends if it was a loan( to allow you to buy a yearly ticket) or an actual benefit – Neuromancer Nov 9 '17 at 21:55
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    Do you have proof that you returned the train pass? Forward it to your company if you have. – Captain Emacs Nov 9 '17 at 23:48
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Legal :

Since you stated the train pass is nowhere in the contract, I wouldn't worry about the legal issues as it may end up costing more if you get a lawyer.


Ethics :

The company has to be well aware of the per-year basis for the train pass. If they don't put any procedures in place to prevent losing money on the train pass when an employee quits, that's on them. So, they are the unethical in this situation as they are asking for $2000 after their mistake.

I don't think you're unethical for not wanting to pay this as $2000 can be a lot for one person.


What should you do?

I wouldn't try to burn any bridges, just simply respond to the email with something like this :

I recently read the email regarding the train pass payment. The company contract doesn't state any procedures for returning or reimbursing benefits provided by the company. Because of this, the train pass was returned to [train company] assuming it would be refunded.

Best regards, no one

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    Does not have to be in the "contract" to be binding if its in the company hand book or even just "custom and practice" - though this depends on the legal system. – Neuromancer Nov 9 '17 at 21:57

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