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CA Bonus Pay Vesting prior to Vol Termination

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  • CA Bonus Pay Vesting prior to Vol Termination

    Im leaving my employer soon and have been under a Quarterly Bonus Plan (really it should be called a commission plan) for many years, and paid generally 45 days after close of quarter. I am concerned that my 2015 Q1 Bonus (@ 105% of my plan) will not be paid to me, if I leave after the final calculation / vesting (see DSLE below).
    My plan states "All terminations of employment (voluntary or involuntary), removes the employee from participation/payout of the bonus program effective the date of the termination. For example, if employment is terminated on November 1st , there is no payout for Q4 or year-end bonuses". NOTE: My employer does not specifically refer to prior earned/vested Quarter payouts in this example. Also, sales team has not received our final (approved) 2015 quota, but I was told by my manager that I have achieved the 105% proposed amount for Q1.

    In the CA DSLE it states "Voluntary Termination Before Vesting Where Bonus Is Consideration For Continued Employment. An employee who voluntarily leaves his employment before the bonus calculation date is not entitled to receive it if the employer has expressly qualified its promise of a bonus on a requirement of continued employment. This has been the rule ever since Peterson v. California Shipbuilding Corp. (1947) 80 Cal.App.2d 827, 831, 183 P.2d 56. The California rule is in accord with the prevailing view that where a definite bonus or profit-sharing plan has been established and forms part of the employment contract, the employee is not entitled to share in the proceeds where he leaves the employment voluntarily prior to vesting".
    Q1: Does bonus calculation date mean vesting? Or is vesting determined by work completed during bonus calculation period?
    Q2: If so, would the employer be in violation if I am given my calculation prior to my final day, and the payout is not made after my departure?
    Q3: Has the Employer error'd by not specifically addressing prior Quarterly earned / vested payouts?
    Q4: If a Bonus Plan is a Unilateral Contract, and I began performance (Jan 1- March 31), is the bonus revocable if vested but unpaid?
    Q5: Will the employer have any liability for continuing to withhold (unreasonable performance?) our final quarterly/year-end objectives when everyone is awaiting possible payouts for Q1?

    Thanks for your help.
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