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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Employment Law Expert
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I was red at my company in October of 2014. My employer and

Customer Question

I was hired at my company in October of 2014. My employer and I both signed my offer letter that stated my salary, responsibilities and potential quarterly bonus if all of mutually identified goals were met. Even though all of our goals were met the first quarter of 2015, I had difficulties getting my bonus, but it was finally paid out in July 2015. Again, I have met all 2nd quarter goals and I am once again having difficulty getting the company to pay out my bonus. Even though we have experienced record collections, my employer is saying that due to the uncertainties of the company's growth in the 3rd quarter, he will not be able to pay bonuses at this time. I know that the company had a solid growth of business in both patient volume and collections for the 3rd quarter as well. Do I have any legal recourse for this situation?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Further, if you get a message asking if you want to do additional services like a telephone call that message is automatically generated by the website and is not sent from me. I, like most of the experts in the Legal categories, do not do telephone calls due to issues with State Bar rules and other concerns.

In this answer I am going to use the terms agreement, letter, letter agreement, and contract interchangeably since for you to have any shot at winning the letter agreement must be a contract.

It depends on the exact wording of the contract or offer letter and if the offer letter can be considered a contract. You're going to have to take them to a local attorney to have them evaluate it as well as the facts. You will also want to take a copy of all of the correspondence and emails exchanged prior to and immediately following the signing.

In the case of a bonus, as opposed to a wage claim, the Department of Labor or the Texas version, the Texas Workforce Commission, won't be any practical assistance.

Texas is an exceedingly employer friendly state and almost all of the statutes and recent case law are weighted in favor of the employer. However, the good part is that Texas does still follow what is known as the "Scrivener's Rule" which means that if any part of a contract/agreement is vague or ambiguous then that ambiguity is resolved in favor of the person that did not draft the contract. That means that if any term is subject to more than on interpretation then the court is obligated to accept whatever reasonable interpretation you offer even if the employer offers an interpretation that is more reasonable.

In the event that the contract does set forth specific goals which obligate the employer to pay a bonus if they are met then your recourse would be to file a lawsuit for breach of contract due to their failure to pay the bonus as outlined in the agreement. In addition to the bonus amount, they would also be obligated to pay interest and attorney's fees.

The issue they are raising as to "uncertainties in growth" are only a real issue as to your bonus if they are outlined in the contract and set forth as a consideration to be taken into account in determining whether or not a bonus is to be paid and, if so, how much. If it is not a written consideration but is just an issue in the employer's mind then it likely will not be relevant and will not be an excuse.

If your question has been answered completely then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

If your question has been answered completely then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread.