Terminated before I received signing bonus

I signed and offer to work for a
company which included a singing bonus
of 5,000 to be paid out within the 1st
30 days of employment. No agreement to
stay with company for any length of
time to receive it nor any pay back
clause. I was terminated 2 weeks after
starting with them for what they
described as not a good fit. Am I still
entitled to my signing bonus?

Asked on March 13, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

For a definitive answer, you need to let an attorney review the exact language or terms of the agreement relating to the signing bonus, since agreements and contracts are governed by their precise language. That said, as a general matter, if you had a written agreement entitling you to a signing bonus and it did not include any limitations, such as that you had to be there when the bonus was paid or had to be there some minimum time, then as long as you were not fired "for cause"--e.g. for insubordination, for not following policy or instructions, for theft, for unexcused absenteeism, etc.; and in this regard, note that not being a "good fit" is *not* for cause--and were not terminated because you had lied on your application or resume, you should still be entitled to the bonus. The company probably should have included some payback clause or other limitation to protect themselves, but if they didn't, they would seem to have to pay you. Again, though, you need to look to the terms of the agreement for a more definitive answer about your situation; the above answer is based on general principles.


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