Usually, the agreement between the employer and employee is that the employee works for the employer, and the employer compensates the employee. There are different types of compensation that employees receive. They include salaries and bonuses, which are usually paid out at specific times of the year, often once a year. Some employees who receive salaries may also be entitled to bonuses. In fact, for many employees, bonuses supplement their salaries.
Unfortunately, sometimes, employers try to withhold bonuses. Usually, employees are vulnerable to being denied bonuses after termination. If your employer is holding back a bonus, you need to understand that you have legal rights. Depending on the circumstances, you might still be entitled to a bonus, even after leaving your job. If your employer is withholding a bonus, you should speak to an employment lawyer for help. A skilled lawyer knows the laws on bonus pay, can analyze the facts of your case, and advise you on how best to proceed.
Must Employees Honor Their Promises to Pay Bonuses?
The laws about bonuses are less clear than many other wage laws. But generally, bonus payment laws require that an employer promises to pay an employee a bonus in exchange for the employee’s performance at work. With that said, it is generally not wise for an employee to simply hope that their employer will live up to their word of paying them bonuses. It is crucial for employees to negotiate bonuses into a contract. This is because courts usually enforce bonus promises if the promise is part of the employee’s contract. To make it clearer, according to the courts, when it comes to bonuses, an enforceable promise is one that comes before work has already been done, generally, in anticipation that the work will be done. So, if an employer promises an employee some sort of bonus after the employee has achieved a certain result, that promise would most likely be considered unenforceable and not part of an employee’s contract.
Can an Employer Withhold a Bonus?
If the bonus is part of an employee’s contract, an employer should not be able to withhold it. Failing to pay an employee a bonus covered in their contract would be a breach of their contract. If your employer is withholding your bonus and the bonus is covered in your employment contract, you might be able to sue them on the grounds of breach of contract.
With that said, it is vital to note that, in some situations, it is possible for a promised employee bonus to be enforced even if it is not considered in a contract. When there is a possibility of an injustice being done, the court might enforce a promise to pay a bonus.
Must an Employer Honor Their Promise to Pay an Employee Bonus if the Employee is Terminated?
It depends on the circumstances surrounding the case. If you were terminated and the promise of a bonus is considered in your contract, your employee might still be required to pay you the bonus. But, if you did not achieve the promised goals before your employment was terminated, your employer might not still be obligated to pay you the promised bonus.
Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation
If your employer is withholding bonuses, the best thing you can do is reach out to a skilled employment lawyer for help. Contact the Trabosh Law firm today for a free case evaluation.