I'm a computer programmer for a large company in California. A month ago (mid July), I was told that I would receive a significant bonus in the month of August. Soon after, I was told the specific date: August 15th. This was verbal, in one-on-one meetings with my manager.
It is now August 13th, and I've been told that the bonus will be pushed back until 9/1, or possibly even 9/15. This was told to me over instant messenger by my manager. She specifically states in the IM that the bonus promised for 8/15 has been moved back to 9/1 or possibly 9/15 (I've saved the log).
Here is the problem: I have been given an incredible offer from another company and want to leave my current job. For various reasons I must start at the new company by September 8th. I would like to give my current employer the customary two-weeks notice, but my fear is that if I give my two-weeks notice now, they will renege on the bonus.
Is there any law that states whether a bonus promised by a certain date *must* be paid if I worked until that date? i.e. since the bonus was promised by 8/15, and if I work through 8/15, have I met the employment requirements to receive that bonus (even if it is later moved back)? Can a bonus be considered part of an agreed salary (i.e. can I interpret the bonus promise as, "work until 8/15 and we will pay you an extra $xxx".)
If you do not think that I am guaranteed the bonus by law, my only alternative is to wait until 9/1 to see if I receive the bonus, then give them less than one week of notice. This seems unprofessional and I would rather avoid this route if I can.