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Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 8184
Experience:  JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
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I was just let go from my employer, didn't get any

Customer Question

Hello! I was just let go from my employer, didn't get any letters or notices. I only received my final paycheck without details on accrued days off, sick days, etc. I have been told that they ran out of money and are letting me go. As part of my work agreement I had the following:Incentive Pay: You will receive a $1250 bonus at the competition of 2 projects ($2,500 total). The first one will be the IPad APP and the second is to be determined. Additionally you will receive a review in January 2015 at which time you will receive a $5,000 increase to your base salary provided that the quality of your work meets expectations.I only received the first portion of the bonus of $1250 which I had to ask for last year. During that bonus payout I have been told that the second part of the bonus would be paid for the project I had competed 2 months after that. Since then I haven't received any reviews or bonuses. I spoke with the president of the company last month about it and he said that it looks like they owe me the prorated amount for the whole year plus the bonus. All that was denied today and I was told that since I haven't had a formal review I am not owed anything. They did agree on the bonus though but asked to get in touch in January to see if they have any money.
I am planning on filing a claim with EDD. Could you please help to see if I have a good case or anything I should do.
Also, they fired the HR person and I didn't get any COBRA information I am eligible for since I was gettng medical insurance through the company.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Faye Lee replied 1 year ago.

I know this must be difficult at this time of the year. First, did you received a Performance Review in January, 2015 as stated in your agreement? Whether you have a review or not has nothing to do with whether you are paid what is owed to you. It appears your payment is contingent on your performance which was not evaluated. Now one question are you a contract worker? If you are a contractor my answer would be different.However if you are an employee and was given an employment agreement then you can pursue your employer for breach of the contract. Also how were you paid exempt or non exempt? This also would have an impact on what you can do? It appears you will have several options but I need more information.....please answer my questions..... thank you. I look forward to giving you a full answer.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the quick response!
To answer your questions:
- I was fulltime exempt employee although i didn't have exact wording in my contacts
- The snapshot I sent is part of my offer letter when I was offered this job. I don't have any other documents besides paystubs.
- I did not get an evaluation or a review in January
- I mentioned this to company president late November and he verbally confirmed that "looks like we owe you prorated amount"The told me that they basically don't have any money. When I asked if company got eliminated they said no and they are trying to turn things around to get back on track.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Another question I had on this: is employer supposed to give me health insurance information (COBRA plan) and detalis on accrued and used vacation days?
Expert:  Faye Lee replied 1 year ago.

COBRA is federal law which requires all employers who have 20 or more employees and have health plans to offer continuation of health benefits with same coverage.It will depend what is in the employment agreement if you can pursuant for breach of contract. If they failed to give you a performance review and you do not have any negative performance in your file you still can request full payment that is owed to you under the agreement, however I have not seen the agreement that may have a waiver. If so, this may prevent you from any action. I would formally request in writing for all benefits owed to you. if not granted then file with your state agency, however based upon your contract you most likely with have to file a legal action for breach of contract, still again I have not seen the contract. I think you may have a sound case if all the facts are correct and again I have not seen the contract. If they do not have money it may take them a while given if they are not able to make payroll. I hope this has helped.......best wishes!!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have attached the offer letter I got when starting my employment. This is the only document I have. The review and extra 5k were the condition I accepted the offer. I mentioned to them about the offer letter once last year in november, they only paid the first portion of bonus, that's all. They still owe me the second part of the bonus plus the prorated salary promised. They don't have any negative reviews on file - nothing happened for this. In fact, verbally I only heard extrordinary positive feedback from CEO and the President. This November I had a conversation with president and he agreeed that the amount is owed to me and he would get back to me next week. That was the extent of it until they just gave me the final check and said goodbye, no documents were handed to me.
Is there a samle I could use to request cobra and benefits info?
For the prorated salary do you mean I cannot file with EDD and have to go through legal procedures?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Within the scope of the original question I have sent an attachment of the offer letter to review. I don't think I need an extra Q&A session.
Expert:  Faye Lee replied 1 year ago.

I think it is important for you to know your next step to help you with your termination.Because you are under an employment agreement it has been spelled out clearly in the agreement.The agreement spells out that you should receive the $ 5000.00 added to your base pay. They failed to give your performance review but also added a contingency clause, "provided that the quality of your work meets expectation" in the agreement.Since you do not have a review you do not have anything to document your performance.

The agreement notifies you that they may cancel or modify your benefits including medical benefits,thereby if they do not have medical insurance now as you leave you would not be eligible for COBRA.But if you have benefits at the time of your termination then you would be eligible for COBRA. You would be eligible for all vacation as it relates to your company policy.Your incentive should be payable if the second project met the employer's expectations. I would clearly think you would be successful in a legal claim against your employer. If your benefits and wages are not paid I would recommend that you write a demand letter to employer, if not successful then file a civil action. The contract does not have a contractual arbitration clause therefore you can go directly with a civil action.I hope this has helped and I wish you the best...... you may receive additional information from the local Labor Dept(state and federal) but you are exempt an employee,but you may see if this is a larger issues with non exempt employees. Good Luck... Faye Lee

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for the detailed response!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just last quick question, sorry to bother you again. I have my former supervisor who was taking care of the first portion of the bonus testifying that when he (the supervisor) was leaving, the CEO promised that supervisor to make everything happen for me according to that offer letter. Would that help me if I file it with labor department?
Expert:  Faye Lee replied 1 year ago.

You would be able to use his testimony in a claim against your employer.

Expert:  Faye Lee replied 1 year ago.

If you found my answers helpful would you please rate, I appreciate you allowing me to work with you and I wish you the best payment for the value. Thank you. Faye Lee

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for your answers. I did try to submit review several days ago, but can't - using ipad doesn't work. I will try to do it on desktop later. I apologize for the delay - I am happy with your advice.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi! Just contacted support about rating button. They told me that your reply should be last in the queue in order to enable rating module. I apologize - I had no idea it was working that way. Once you post something - doesn't matter what - I will submit the rating. Sorry again for the delay.