• Holding of Service Certificate and Relieving Letter by my previous employer

When I joined my previous company there was a clause in the Offer Letter that I will be paid a joining bonus of One Lakh after completion of 1 year from the date of joining, and the same One Lakh will be recoverable from me if I leave the company within 18 months from the date of joining. Now i have left the company serving a 3months notice period before 18 months of completion from the date of joining.

Now in the full and final settlement I need to pay my previous employer 91000 INR and on receiving the same they will release my Relieving Letter and my Experience Certificate. 

1. Do I need to pay the amount to my previous employer to get my relieving and experience letter, is it legal for them to demand that on basis of the Offer Letter?
2. If I do not pay, can my previous employer take legal action against me?

FYI, my new company does not want any Relieving Letter or Experience Certificate as I am joining the company in a different country.
Asked 7 months ago in Labour

3 answers received in 30 minutes.

Lawyers are available now to answer your questions.

9 Answers

1. If the terms of employment stipulates that you are required to return the bonus amount paid to you if you quit your employment within 18 months of joining the organisation, you have accepted the terms and signed the offer letter, hence you are obliged by the terms and conditions.

2. The employer can take legal action for recovery of the same if you do not comply to the demand notice sent by him.

3. It is up to you to take a chance

T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
83704 Answers
2057 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1.     If you can establish that, your ex employer compelled to resign for some reason, you can escape the liability to pay the stipulated penalty.

2.     Under service contract an employee is not required to pay penalty unless employer proves that due to violation of some terms by employee he suffered actual loss.

3.     He can approach a Court as doors of Court are open for all, but Courts are slow on imposing penalty on employees.

4.     It is for you to decide, you get the immediate job but what about the necessity of relieving letter experience certificate  in future.

Ravi Shinde
Advocate, Hyderabad
4012 Answers
42 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1. Since you have not fulfilled the condition of working in the company for a minimum period of 18 months, if you have been paid 1 Lakh on your completion of one year service, then it's legal for the management to ask for returning the amount.

2.  In case, you don't pay/return the amount to the management, you would not be issued Relieving letter/Experience Certificate by your employer.

3.   Since you are joining for work abroad and the prospective employer is not demanding for Relieving letter/Experience Certificate, there's no need for you to return the amount to the present employer.

4.   Normally , no action would be taken against an unwilling ex-employee as the employer have to spend legal fee and the legal action would not be fruitful.

Shashidhar S. Sastry
Advocate, Bangalore
4947 Answers
308 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1. Yes, its legal for them to demand this money back as you signed the agreement with open eyes, being fully aware that this amount is recoverable if you leave the job before expiry of 18 months.

2. Yes they can, nut the amount is too small for the hassle they will face. 

Vibhanshu Srivastava
Advocate, Lucknow
9534 Answers
299 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

company can demand RS one lakh from you 


2) if you dont pay company will not give you experience certificate or relieving letter 


3) company can sue you to recover the amount 

Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
93506 Answers
7253 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

- As per Specific Relief Act, if any employee quits before the notice period, the Employer can only recover the Notice pay, and the Company cannot force to serve the entire notice period.

- Further, the resignation decision is the employee’s decision, and the employer cannot sue for breach of contract, if the employee leaves without serving contractual notice. 

- Further, no employer can refused to return the original certificates or to issue relieving letter .If they are doing so, their act is illegal, unjustified and against the fundamental rights of the employee.

- Further, the employment bond with the negative covenant is valid and legally enforceable, if the parties agree with their free consent i.e. without force, coercion, undue influence, misrepresentation and mistake, but it is not enforceable, if it is either one sided, unconscionable or unreasonable.

1. Since, there is a clause in the offer letter for the refund the bonus if you will leave teh compliant within 18 months, then the company can claim from you.

2. They can send you legal demand notice for the same, however you can response that you have already served the notice period as per rule of the company , hence you are not liable to pay the same. 

Mohammed Shahzad
Advocate, Delhi
12521 Answers
172 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Dear client I am sorry to hear that but in this case is the offer letter mention this clause and you have agreed to that close there for you have to pay the mount in case you don't pay amount obviously a legal action can be taken against you by the employer

Anik Miu
Advocate, Bangalore
8095 Answers
97 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

The company given an offer  of appointment with certain conditions and you  have accepted it in a free will .As a consideration they gave the job.Hence it is  a valid contract between you and  the company.

1..When ever an agreement is made  both parties   are expected to   abide by that .Any breach to that give legal right to  the aggrieved party to seek remedy.


2.It is up to the  aggrieved party to take a call  whether to exercise that legal rights for remedy.

Austine Eapen
Advocate, Bangalore
12 Answers

Not rated

1. If they have spend on your then they can recover the same form you.

2. They can go for breach of contract 


Prashant Nayak
Advocate, Mumbai
31071 Answers
162 Consultations

4.1 on 5.0

Ask a Lawyer

Get legal answers from lawyers in 1 hour. It's quick, easy, and anonymous!
  Ask a lawyer