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Denial of Bonus...legal? Alabama

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  • Denial of Bonus...legal? Alabama

    Greetings.
    Our company policy reads:
    BONUSES

    "xxxx Corp". offers summer and winter bonuses which are dependant on company and employee performance.

    The "summer" bonuses are usually handed in in August, right before the end of our fiscal year 8/31/08. Well about two months ago, I gave about a two month notice saying Id be leaving the company. I do the accounting/bookkeeping and wanted to stay to end of the business year, to help close out the year, but also, give the company enough time to find a competant replacement, one which I helped hire and have now trained. In return, I always figured staying till then would be nice to also get my bonus. I could have left two months ago though in all reality.

    Well I was told yesterday, that since I am leaving the company at the end of this month, I wll NOT be getting my summer bonus. It has NOTHING to do with my performance, as I have no "write up's" no truancy issues, ABSOLUTLY NOTHING ON MY RECORD so to speak.
    Its just that the president of the company feels I shouldnt get one because I have decided to leave the company for personal reasons.

    Is this lawful? can this be done? or can I argue the point? At this point though, I dont think I would accept something, I just feel like I got stabbed in the back, as I stayed to help out till end of business year and tried to make sure the new person new what they were doing, cause there really is a LOT to learn.
    Thanks for your time.
    xierramilan

  • #2
    It depends on the terms of the bonus agreement. There is no law that addresses this specifically.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

    Comment


    • #3
      CBG,
      there really is no bonus agreement, other than the one stated in the handbook.

      We all know we get bonuses twice a year, and the amounts are the ones that vary, depending on our profits, the employees performance, and I guess the owners mood also!!??

      But it was always understood we would get bonuses, which is why sometimes, in our raises, we may not get what we would think we are to get, because they "make it up" with the bonuses.

      Comment


      • #4
        There is also no law that addresses raises, or reviews for that matter. It is possible that either the employer's handbook or past practices rise to the level of a contract (or at least that the right judge can be persuaded that they do). It is possible that they do not. There is really no one-size-fits-all answer here. This is very detail specific and something that a local attorney would have to review. Also, there are several very different types of laws. Labor law is functionally law that is externally imposed by the government. Minimum wage and overtime would be examples of labor law. But what you are talking about are issues not directly addressed in labor law. You may or may not have a contract law issue, but like all contract law issues, the resolution (if any) is largely determined by the exact wording of the contract (if any).

        Different states can also have very different views of this issue. Your state (AL) is not one generally thought of as being a leader in employee friendly labor law.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

        Comment


        • #5
          Being as the purpose of a bonus is to recognize performance so that employees stay on board, it doesn't make sense to pay one for someone leaving. If it was a bonus that was structured and based on past performance, such as a % of sales made over the year or perfect attendance or something like that it would be easier to argue that the bonus was earned wages. When it is just a descretionary bonus not based on set factors or for any specified amount, it is not. Technically based on the policy shared your employer could just decide they don't believe you are deserving of a bonus and not give you one even if you were remaining employed.
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you all for your responses.
            I understand the point.
            Doesnt make it any easier to accept, as Ive always gone out of my way to do a great job...but oh well.
            C'est la vie.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by xierramilan View Post
              Thank you all for your responses.
              I understand the point.
              Doesnt make it any easier to accept, as Ive always gone out of my way to do a great job...but oh well.
              C'est la vie.
              As a friend of mine's t-shirt says, Manure Occureth.
              I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

              Comment

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