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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12637
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Pearl. JA: The Employment Lawyer will need to help you

Customer Question

Hi Pearl.
JA: The Employment Lawyer will need to help you with this. Please give me a bit more information, so we can help you best.
Customer: Question concerns, in my offer letter and job description, states:"you will be eligible to participate in the Incentive Compensation Plan with the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014" Your position carries with it an initial 25% target bonus. Bonuses are a percent of actual base earnings during the year and are subject to the profitability of the company."
JA: Got it. The Employment Lawyer will know how to help you. Anything else I can tell the Employment Lawyer before I connect you two?
Customer: Bonuses were paid 3/23. My CEO states that these are discretionary. I will not get one because he states I have not been in position long enough to get one. The others on my team state that the team was close to the target for theirs.
JA: I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Employment Lawyer about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question. The general rule is that bonuses are discretionary unless there is an employment contract which expressly provides to the contrary. Here, your offer letter and job description (which would be a "contract") provide that you will be "eligible to participate in the incentive compensation plan." You would have to argue that "eligible to participate" means that your employer has no choice whether or not to pay you the bonus if the objective performance criteria are satisfied. Candidly, I think you would have a difficult time making this argument. "Eligible" simply implies a possibility, and "participate" is vague as to meaning. Furthermore, as a practical matter you would need to file a lawsuit against your employer to compel payment. I'm not sure that taking legal action would be worth it in terms of the irreversible harm you'd be causing to your employment relationship, as lawsuits do not tend to engender feelings of good will. The amount of the bonus would need to be very large to make it worth while, or you would need to be working somewhere else so that the harm to this employment relationship would no longer matter I hope that you find this information helpful and that it gives you something to think about. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.