What is my recourse if the last part of a sign on bonus is being withheld?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is my recourse if the last part of a sign on bonus is being withheld?

I started working at a company giving a $1000 sign on bonus paid in increments over 90 days. I started 070/6. Now the place is shutting down and my last day working is 10/05,. They will pay me until 10/15, however they are not going to give me the last $400 of the sign on bonus. Does this sound right?

Asked on September 28, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Legally, they have to give it to you, unless there was some contingency or limitation in the contract stating that if they closed up shop, went out of business, etc., they could avoid paying some. Practically, if the company were an LLC or corporation and goes out of business and/or goes insolvent, you may never be able to get the money: when you are employed by an LLC or corporation, you can only sue it, not the owner(s), for unpaid wages or bonuses; but if it doesn't have money or doesn't exist any more, there is no way to get paid. Furthermore, if they won't pay you voluntarily, you'd have to sue for the money; you have to make a cost-benefit decision about whether it worth suing for $400, when there is a chance you'll never get it.

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