I was referred to here from workplace, needing legal advice (I understand it is not replacing a lawyer- I'm working on that).
I was recently fired from an employer in Texas, US (after 9 months) due to retaliation. I prepared a small summary below. The bigger problem is that instead of severance, they are asking some money back after all these problems and intimidation.
I was under various hostility and jealousy by two of my colleagues because of my progress and recognition. The manager was their friend, they were a) harassing me through various means including shutting down my PC when working remotely, deleting my data, b) restricting my hardware access, c) stalking me, violating my privacy, and share my data with them, d) deceiving me with dishonesty, e) discriminating me over them and friends from his country, f) all of them were threatening and bullying not to talk about my solution which was better than them, g) He was rejecting my paper and accepting their paper, and many others.
When I raised these ethical violations to HR, simply asking I just need to change my group (and I had offer from the manager), she retaliated and banned me from changing. Later, they teamed up together, and fired me suddenly in a discussion meeting with no reason. They gave a fake performance rating in spite of my excellent achievements, and robbed my annual bonus also. They falsely said I have two weeks to leave the country to further diminish my mood. I guess one reason could be because I told the HR that "I'm uncomfortable and I might get external help". Or maybe "I don't care what they do. Please let me change my group". It was a dirty workplace, and they suspect I have many bugs from them.
The bigger problem is that, now after after all these retaliations and firing me and ruining my whole career, they are asking to pay back around 30K for the relocation, sign on bonus, and other fees. The employment form where I signed was deceiving for the job termination. I am even suspected because they had a lay-off plan, but "fired" me to avoid those fees.
Here is the piece of offer letter:
Probably after all these hostilities, instead of severance, I have to even pay them money?! Alternatively, what are my options? Should I negotiate, or lawsuit?