Is my publicly traded employer improperly withholding my bonus check?

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Is my publicly traded employer improperly withholding my bonus check?

I was told by a senior executive that I would be receiving a significant 5-figure performance bonus and that I could expect a check within a week. I received a glowing performance evaluation for the reporting period which ended over 3 months ago. Subsequently, our board of directors questioned our CEO about a recently slipping performance metric. Angry and embarrassed, the CEO directed bonus checks for key contributors to be held indefinitely until this issue is resolved. Is this behavior breach of a verbal contract?

Asked on August 14, 2011 Illinois

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Here is the problem. You need to check your employment contract to see if there is mention of a bonus in there. If is mandated you get the bonus upon a glowing review, then you should have no problem enforcing it. Secondly, if you were promised this and you relied to your detriment on this bonus, then you need to talk to the CEO and place everything in writing with supporting documentation showing that you are owed this money. Be careful; in this day and age, most employment is at will, so unless you have an iron clad employment contract, tread lightly.


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