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Payment of Bonuses Upon Immediate Resignation California

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  • Payment of Bonuses Upon Immediate Resignation California

    In January, I resigned from the company I worked for. I had previously put in about 3 weeks notice, but ended up quitting a week early due to an untenable situation. I was paid the portion of my salary that I was entitled to, along with payment for saved vacation days, within 72 hours.

    However, I also have an agreement, both oral and in writing, to a bonus plan that depends, in part, on the monthly profit & loss statements for the portion of the company that I worked for. I am owed these bonuses for September, 2009 through December, 2009, and have still not been paid any of them. It's now more than 2 full months since I quit, and 5 1/2 months since September ended.

    I know that the company has issued, internally, the P&L statements, since the tax year ended. They were always traditionally slow in paying the bonuses, but never more than 2 months, let alone 5 or 6.

    I have been continually assured, via email communication, that I will be paid the bonuses and people are "working on it," but the most recent email to that effect was 3 weeks ago, and still nothing. Frankly, I'm tired of waiting.

    What are my options? I don't know the bonus amounts, since I'm not privy to the P&L statements or to other company statistics that relate directly to the computation of my bonus.

    I found a form here (http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/HowToFileWageClaim.htm) that looks like what I need, but I'm not entirely sure, and, as I said, can't claim a specific dollar amount.

    Any guidance would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Das ist in der Doktor!

    File a claim,
    estimate the amount.
    Send a certified letter requesting any and all monies due to you, and tell them you have filed a claim.
    Perhaps that will lite a fire under them.
    At any rate, you've gotten the ball rolling,
    you always can cancel the claim.

    If you are fired, you’ re suppose to get all money due you on your final check
    If you quit, I think it’s the next regular pay day.
    Bonuses may be something altogether different.
    When were they normally given out, annually, bi annually, or quarterly ?
    or was it whenever they had "extra money"
    Are you the only one who hasn’t been paid?
    When did others get theirs,
    or have they?

    ..______________
    ~ Those who hammer their guns into plows,
    will plow for those who do not. - Thomas Jefferson
    Last edited by drruthless; 03-22-2010, 02:26 AM.

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    • #3
      Generally speaking, if the bonus has in fact been earned, it is due as soon as the employer can calculate it. Payment does not have to be accelerated because of a termination.

      Having said that, however, check the DLSE enforcement manual regarding payment of bonuses.
      http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Manual-Instructions.htm
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by drruthless View Post
        When were they normally given out, annually, bi annually, or quarterly ?
        or was it whenever they had "extra money"
        Are you the only one who hasn’t been paid?
        When did others get theirs,
        or have they?
        There was never a regular schedule for them to be given out, but it was certainly never 6 months - timewise, it's evident that the sole reason I haven't yet been paid is because I'm no longer an employee of the company.

        However, I am NOT the only one that has yet to be paid - one of my employees who I keep in contact with is, as far as I know, also due her bonus (unless she has received it and is not telling me, which I doubt.)

        Based on the manual referred to below, there has definitely been sufficient time for the bonuses to be calculated, and the history of the payment of such bonuses makes it clear that these bonuses are being delayed.

        I think I'll do what you suggest, which is file a claim and send a certified letter.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by YearofGlad View Post
          There was never a regular schedule for them to be given out, but it was certainly never 6 months - timewise, it's evident that the sole reason I haven't yet been paid is because I'm no longer an employee of the company.

          However, I am NOT the only one that has yet to be paid - one of my employees who I keep in contact with is, as far as I know, also due her bonus (unless she has received it and is not telling me, which I doubt.)
          If a current employee is also waiting on her bonus then it isn't as clear cut that the only reason you haven't received it is due to your employment status.

          Comment


          • #6
            FYI, it is quite common for bonuses only to be paid to employees who are still employed at the time of payout. I don't know what laws CA maycurrently have on the subject, but about 12 years ago we had such a requirement as well as offices in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, and the requirement held up at that time. I was not directly involved so I'm not sure if it was the wording of the policy or not, but I know it was questioned and I know the employer won.
            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


            • #7
              The current employee who is still awaiting her bonus (presumably) worked under me, and our bonuses were almost always paid after I nagged the company to pay them - sending emails asking for the most recent P&Ls, etc. After nagging, they would pay them. Now, though, my nagging does not have much (if any) effect. So, I believe that the reason she and I still haven't been paid our bonuses is because I don't work there and so my nagging is meaningless. (Don't ask me why SHE doesn't nag them about it - I don't know, but that shouldn't change my position.)

              I have emails (as well as verbal agreements) indicating that the bonuses will be paid - I even went so far in an email to suggest that it doesn't seem like they are going to be paid, and was assured that they will be paid to me. (This exchange was 2 months ago, though.) Not sure if emails saying that I'll be paid the bonuses constitute any sort of actual, legal agreement.

              Also, I have email from 2/10/10 stating that the information about the bonus amounts should be sent to the company's payroll department "by the end of [the] next week," i.e., by 2/19. That clearly hasn't happened.

              I can show that the bonuses were promised to me and that there has been sufficient time for the bonuses to be calculated and paid, based on these emails.

              I don't see a reason why I should NOT file a claim and send a certified letter - I don't need the company for a reference, and so have little to nothing to lose.

              Incidentally, how is something like a bonus different from a commission? I worked at a tutoring center, and have a written bonus agreement that depends on number of students enrolled, tuition/student, and other calculable costs, and then I am paid based on those figures. It seems like commission to me, in the sense that I get a percentage based on how many students I enrolled at what rate, which is essentially me "selling" the product for the company. I know that commissions, at least in CA, are owed to employees, even if they resign without notice, and are subject to a waiting penalty based on the day that the bonuses were calculable, which, based on the emails I have, is around February 3rd (an email from my former boss states that she received the P&Ls (the only documents needed to calculate my bonuses) sometime in the week prior to 2/10/10).
              Last edited by YearofGlad; 03-22-2010, 10:07 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                1. File the wage claim with CA-DLSE. There is literally no reason for you not to.

                2. Past that, Patty already gave you the pointer to the CA-DLSE manual. You need to actual read the chapters on bonus and on commission (whatever you think the payment actually is). CA-DLSE does not consider bonus and commissions to be the same thing. It is almost impossible to legally not pay a commission in CA because of a termination. Bonus payments are legally different from commission. It is possible to legally not pay a bonus payment in CA because of a termination, HOWEVER, this is far from automatic. Smart CA employers spell out the rules for their compensation plans well before any work is actually done. CA-DLSE will generally enforce the written comp plan assuming that it is not illegal on it's face. The problem is that absent the written comp plan, the employee has their opinion on the rules, the employer has a likely very different opinion on the rules, BUT since the employer never bothered to prepared the written comp plan, it means that CA-DLSE gets to decide what the rules are. Whoops! Smart employers do not put CA-DLSE in the position where that type of decision gets made.

                One more time. Read the CA-DLSE manual. Then file the wage claim. It works or it does not.
                "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

                Comment

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