Am I entitled to my bonus?

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Am I entitled to my bonus?

In my offer letter, it stated that I would receive a $15,000 bonus by the 15th and this was contingent on my employment through 2016 which I was. I was supposed to get the bonus by January 15th and they got rid of me on January 16th. In the offer letter, it did state that it was not a binding agreement. Am I entitled to this bonus?

Asked on January 23, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Until the 2nd-to-last line of your question, the answer would have been that yes, you are entitled to the money: you complied with your obligations under a written agreement (the offer letter) by being employed all last year and through the 15th of this year; since you complied with your obligations, they would be contractually required to comply with theirs, and if they did not, you could sue them for breach of contract for the money. 
But you then wrote that "in the offer letter, it did state that this was not a binding agreement." If so--if by its very terms this was not a binding agreement--then it meant nothing. You cannot enforce a non-binding agreement, which rather than being an enforceable contract, is nothing more than a statement of the then-current intentions. If the agreement truly stated it was not binding, then it was purely discretionary, and the employer had the discretion to not pay you.


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