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Uppaid Bonus from my employeer Alabama

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  • Uppaid Bonus from my employeer Alabama

    I worked for a company for 18 months of the year, completing all of goals. I am paid a plus a bonus if the company meets its goals (of which you must meet your own goals). I left the company due to my wife medical conditions. I worked all of 2015 I left on March 2016. In my offer letter it clearly states my salary and my bonus as part of my compensation plan. The bonus is not a gift nor is it discretionary. In my letter it indicates that bonus are paid March or April. I let the company in good terms no discipline issues or any bad blood. One of my concerns was losing my bonus and in conversation I indicated that I was concern and I did not want to lose my bonus. I was told not to worry.
    I have now been gone for 6 weeks and I have inquired 4-5 times on status of the bonus with my ex-boss and VP of human resources. I was told they were waiting for books to close and for board to approve bonuses they indicated the books close on 4/29 and the board should know shortly after. I understand that the company has met all of its goals, and the employees are due to get about a bonus. I email on 5/5 to follow up on the bonus at this time the VP of human resources now tells me that in order to get a bonus I have to be an active employee. I challenged the VP because the employee handbook nor any other documentation indicate that I have to be an active employee. In addition I keep communication with coworkers which I have asked if they are aware of this policy or if they have documents detailing this policy. No one is aware if this so called policy nor do they have any document that indicates this.
    They did not replace my position with anyone. I worked all of 2015 I performed, meet all my goals and objectives and I had a great review. Never had any disciplinary issues. The company has no policy on having to be an active employee to gain bonus. This was never discussed with me nor was it mentioned in the first 3-4 emails. I am of the opinion is that this is BS and the company is trying to back track from paying me. In my opinion I worked the full 2015 I performed, it was in my offer letter that the bonus is part of my compensation plus the company does not have a policy in place. All that said I think it is reasonable to make a claim for my bonus.

    Does anyone have any concrete experience with this type of claim?

    This took place in Alabaman

  • #2
    It is very, very common for a bonus program to require that you be an active employee on the day of the payout to be eligible, and Alabama's wage and hour laws are among the weakest in the US. You can try taking ALL the associated documentation to an attorney to see what they think but I don't have a good feeling about this.
    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.

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    • #3
      I agree with cbg - unless you have a written bonus agreement or contract that indicates you only need to work until year's end, they can require that you be an active employee on the day of payout to be eligible for the bonus.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Betty3 View Post
        I agree with cbg - unless you have a written bonus agreement or contract that indicates you only need to work until year's end, they can require that you be an active employee on the day of payout to be eligible for the bonus.
        I understand but the company has no policy regarding bonus. I do have an offer letter detailing my bonus to be part of my compensation. If they have no policy indicating that I have to be active employed but I have a letter how can they stiff me?

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        • #5
          Because you are assuming that "they can't unless it says they can" whereas employment and labor law operates under "they can unless it says they can't".

          There does not have to be a law that gives them permission to withhold bonuses for employees who are not active at the time the bonuses are given out - it's enough that there isn't a law that prohibits them from withholding them.

          Your ONLY hope, especially in a state like Alabama, is if there is something in the bonus agreement that helps you. The fact that there is nothing in the agreement that says you have to be actively employed does not necessarily help you. At best, it doesn't hurt you.

          If you want to pursue this, you're going to have to take ALL the associated documentation to an Alabama attorney.

          I say again, such requirements are very, very common and are legal in most if not all states.
          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

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