How do I make sure I get my Bonus

I work for a Property Management Company that was in the process of selling our
property. They gave us a clear objective that if our three month trend showed
collections of 380,000 Monthly collected at the time of the sale, I would
receive a Bonus of 7250 upon sale. They sat me down with witnesses and
verbally offered this to me. March 31st marks the date of the sale and our three
month trend Sent out by corporate shows us at a 389,000 monthly collected. Now
they are backtracking on their Bonus’ and nothing is in writing yet, but there
are rumors stating that we will be receiving closer to 700 instead of the 7250
that was promised. Everywhere I read states that Verbal Agreements are binding
and since I held up my end of the agreement, they need to hold up their end. I
have witnesses and when they presented it to me, they had a powerpoint showing
everyone’s bonus.

Asked on March 21, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

An oral (that, not "verbal," is the correct term for an unwritten agreement) bonus agreement is generally not enforceable. That is because the overarching rule for U.S. employment is "employment at will," which, among other things, means the employer can change compensation at any time, for any reason, including going back on promises. The only time the employer cannot do that--that is, that the basic concept of employment at will is overridden--is when there is a written employment agreement for a set of fixed duration (e.g. an agreement for the 2016 bonus). Without a fixed duration or end point set in writing, the employer's ability to alter--including reduce--compensation is not changed. So it is likely that you cannot enforce what you understood to be the terms of your bonus.

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