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It's not ambiguous, it's fact-specific, and a court in such a situation would look to questions of fairness and reasonableness under the circumstances. Absent an extended delay that caused meaningful harm to the company, the employee would almost certainly get his reimbursement.

The fact that you mention a court might review such a situation, strongly suggests it is in fact somewhat ambiguous.

I don't see your logic. A court would review it if one of the sides brought it to court. It doesn't suggest that the issue is 'ambiguous', or that the company has a leg to stand on once they're actually in court.

Many things end up in court that are not ambiguous, which is why summary judgement[1] exists.

Although it is usually impossible to predict the outcome of a vaguely-defined case (I hit and killed you with my car, am I liable?), a case where all relevant facts are known (I hit and killed you with my car while you were legally crossing at a crosswalk, my light was red, and I was speeding) is utterly unambiguous, but will still end up in court if one side refuses to settle, no matter why they refuse.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summary_judgement

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