City of Oakland v. Hassey, 163 Cal. App. 4th 1477 (2008)

The city sued Kenny D. Hassey for breach of contract after he failed to reimburse it for the costs of training him to become a police officer with the Oakland Police Department. Oakland had entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Oakland Police Officers’ Association authorizing the city to require employees who went through training at its academy to reimburse the city for those costs if the employee left the department before completing five years of service. Hassey resigned from the department after he was told he was “not performing to standards and that he should consider resigning in lieu of termination.” Hassey signed a document titled “training costs repayment agreement” in which he acknowledged he owed repayment of $8,000 of his training costs, to be paid in 24 monthly installments of $333.34. Oakland withheld Hassey’s final paycheck and his retirement balance to cover some of the money he owed for the training costs. The Court of Appeal held that Oakland had not violated federal or state law by requiring Hassey to repay the training costs, although it may have done so by withholding his final paycheck to offset part of the debt. Cf. Curcini v. County of Alameda, 164 Cal. App. 4th 629 (2008) (overtime, meal and rest break compensation requirements of Labor Code do not apply to county employees).