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I am based in UK. About 4 months ago I started a job that turned out to be different to what I expected. Responsibilities are below my qualifications and ambition; I was basically sold dreams during the hiring process.

As they have half a year probation, I am considering leaving on the basis of not being the right person for the role. The problem is that the first weeks of employment was training with some external coaches and there is a statement in my contract that says resignation before 1 year of employment implies paying for the training taken. It does not state how much exactly I will have to pay.

My question is, do I have any right / chance to refuse to pay it if I am still on probation and I think the role is just not what I was promised it will be? I personally think the training did not benefit me in anyway: it was mainly coaching and lectures – no certifications whatsoever that I can use further in my career.

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    I don't know about the UK, but I suspect that unless there's a specific case setting precedent for this, it would come down to the contract you signed. – childofsoong Aug 5 '15 at 18:12
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The general principle of common law contracts is that parties can contract to do whatever they like unless there is a law that says they can't. As employment contracts are one of the most regulated type of contract and as I am not familiar with UK employment law (which may vary depending on which country of the UK governs it) this answer will be general in nature.

Probation will not affect the training question. Probation gives the employer the right to terminate employment without cause or reason during the probation period; it gives the employee no rights.

In general, the contract is the contract: if you agreed to pay for training if you leave within the first 12 months then that is what you are legally obliged to do. You may be able to avoid paying for training in Work Health and Safety as in most jurisdictions an employer is legally obliged to provide this without charge.

That said, if the employer misrepresented the role then the contract may be void or voidable - this would need real legal advice and evidence of the misrepresentation.

All of that said, if you explain your problem to the employer it is quite likely that you will be able to part ways amicably and without involving the law - that would be best all around,

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