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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 11360
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I work in Texas. The division I work in was sold to another

Resolved Question:

I work in Texas. The division I work in was sold to another company with an agreement that I would be paid at least as much in the new copany as I was in the old company for the first 2 years in the new company. This is in writing by an officer of the company. This year my bonus was 50% of the expected value. What are my options if the new company refuses to make up the difference?
Submitted: 1 year ago via Cornell Legal Info Institute.
Category: Legal
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

To be clear, this was a contract between you and the officer (original company), between you and the new company, or between the original company and the new company?

ScottyMacEsq :

And to be clear, it was signed by the officer (of the old/new company)?

Customer:

This was between me and the new company. It was signed by an officer of the new company.

ScottyMacEsq :

And did it specify total compensation, or just salary / wages / etc...?

Customer:

It specifiied total compensation. By the way, that was not honored either - I lost 4 vacation days and gains from employee stock purchase plans.

ScottyMacEsq :

And I assume that this is in exchange for you staying on for those couple of years in your role? There's nothing in the written agreement that would give them the ability to change the terms on their own?

Customer:

I don't recall seeing an agreement to stay on for the next 2 years, but we were verbally asked in a public meeting to hold on for 2 years. I don't recall anything about them being able to change the terms - could you consider the case of there being language that WOULD allow them to change terms and WOULD NOT allow them to change terms on their own?

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you. If they do not pay you what you're owed, you're going to have to sue (if they don't pay even after demand, etc...) The fact that you have a written contract that specifies that they will pay if you stay is a pretty clear case. If they can change the terms (basically upon their determination of lowered performance, etc...) then that's a possibility that they could claim that they don't have to pay you that entire amount. But even with those terms, you could challenge the "good faith" application of those terms, in that if you have maintained the same level of work, etc... then they cannot unreasonably and in bad faith deny you that compensation that they contracted with you to provide.

ScottyMacEsq :

Now if it comes time to pay the amount to you, and they don't, you first need to bring it to their attention.

ScottyMacEsq :

Contact HR, your manager, or whomever handles the pay issues.

ScottyMacEsq :

If they still say "no", then send a demand letter demanding payment within 30 days, otherwise you will pursue legal action against him, seeking that amount plus any additional damages as allowed by law. Send this letter certified, return receipt requested, as well as a copy sent regular mail. Keep a copy for yourself, as well as the return receipt number so that you can show the court that you made a demand for the unpaid wages / compensation.

ScottyMacEsq :

This is something that the Texas Workforce Commission probably would not pursue (they pretty much only do unpaid wages for hourly employees, etc..., rather than employment contracts), so it's going to have to be something that you would need to pursue.

ScottyMacEsq :

If the amount is under $10,000, then you can bring this in small claims court. Do a search on the web for your county and "small claims court." You should find either a website or phone number to the small claims clerk. Ask them what you need to do to bring such a lawsuit. The small claims clerk will give you guidance on how to file this suit and how to get the other party served with notice. You will receive a hearing date, at which you should present your evidence and ask for a judgment for the amount that you should be paid pursuant to the contract.

ScottyMacEsq :

If the amount is greater than $10,000, it would need to be brought in a court of general jurisdiction, and as such it would be highly advisable to get an attorney in that instance. That being said, if it gets to that point, you need to contact an attorney in your area that deals with breach of contract / employment contract cases. Go to www.lawyers.com or www.legalmatch.com to find an attorney in your area. You should be able to find one that will give you a free initial consultation and better advise you of your rights, any problems with your case, likelihood of success, how courts are treating cases such as yours in your area, and what you should do next.

ScottyMacEsq :

The good thing is that in Texas, breach of contract cases allow for recovery of attorneys fees, so hiring an attorney fee to sue for breach of contract, if successful (and I don't see why you wouldn't be) would allow for a recovery of those fees, so you wouldn't "be out" anything.

ScottyMacEsq :

But because of the time period involved (litigation is time consuming) it would be best to try to get it resolved before escalating it to the attorney level.

ScottyMacEsq :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

Customer:

OK, this helps. The amount I am missing in bonus payment is roughly $9,000 and the maount I am losing due to inability to exercise an employee stock purcahse plant is about $5,000, and the loss in vacation time amounts to ~$4,300. Grand total is ~$18,300.

Customer:

Should I go for all of it or just the bonus?

ScottyMacEsq :

I would absolutely make a claim for all of it, because with the contract, you have that added potential of the attorneys fees (that the company would have to pay if you went to court), so they could be hammered with an additional $10,000 or so if that happens.

ScottyMacEsq :

You can always settle at a later point, if you want finality.

Customer:

So in summary - ry talking to the company first - then send a demand letter if they don't pay - then engage a lawyer?

Customer:

Try not ry

ScottyMacEsq :

Yes.

ScottyMacEsq :

That's what I would do.

Customer:

OK, great! Thjis is excellent advise and I will rate you a 5! Thanks!

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX and again, good luck to you!

Customer:

Take care and have a good day!

ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 11360
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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