Can the company I have worked for fire me without notice after running a backround check 2 years later and then not pay the $4000 bonus?

I have worked for a retail company for the past two and a half years. Was hired 2 yers ago after passing a backround check. I have been a great employee without ever being reprimanded or written up fir any matter. Last month we performed inventory in my store which entitled me to recieve a $4000 bonus. Today I was at work when my district manager arrives unannounced to inform me I was being fired due to a backround check the company ran on me within the last month and I will not be receiving my bonus. What are my rights? I feel like this was handled unjustly.

Asked on July 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you did not have an employment contract, you were an employee at will, and could be fired at any time, for any reason--including due to a late background check.

However, even if fired, you are entitled to all amounts earned. If the $4,000 bonus was not discretionary, but was something you were entitled to by meeting certain quantative criteria that had been in place, then they would seem to have to pay you the bonus. That said, bonus plans or agreements are governed by their own terms, so you need to reference the terms of the bonus to see whether you are in fact or are not entitled to it under these circumstances--for example, some bonuses state a target, but retain manager discretion, which means they could be denied; other ones require that you be employed as of when the bonus is actually paid out to receive it; etc.

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