Unread 10-19-2001, 02:00 AM
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Default Termination - Bonus Payment, FL

Good Morning Everyone

If an employee working for a large home-builder in Florida was initially hired and verbally told (not in writing) during his interview that a part of his compensation (salary), he would also receive an end-of-year bonus usually around September, and that bonus was tied to the number of houses he closed during the year, and then by the time September rolls around, the bonuses are late, and the employee suddenly gets fired (and truly not for any good reason/internal bad politics), what are his rights to obtain that bonus? I've looked under the FLSA and I didn't find that they count "Christmas bonus" as a part of earned wages, and Florida law does not really protect employees against being unfairly terminated because of the at-will clause, but I wondered if there was anything else this person could do in this case.

Thanks in advance for your input.

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Unread 10-19-2001, 03:07 AM
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Default RE: Termination - Bonus Payment, FL

This sounds to me like a contractual dispute (verbal contract) that will likely be hard for the employee to enforce. This individual has to decide whether to retain an attorney and pursue collection. If this "understanding about the bonus" was verbal only, I wouldn't bet much on the success of this pursuit, but this person has to make that decision. There's so much more info that is needed b/4 making a suggestion (was bonus discretionary; was employment a prerequisite to receive it on a certain date; any pro-rated payments........????) Your "friend" needs legal advice if he wants to pursue collection.
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Unread 10-19-2001, 03:57 AM
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Default RE: Termination - Bonus Payment, FL

The bonus was not Christmas, I found out. That was a separate bonus they were told about, and I understand that there's little he can do about that. This bonus was paid quarterly, and was called a production bonus (verbal), based on the number of houses closed per quarter. He had already received his first bonus for the first quarter, and the second one was late, but expected. Then he was fired, but it seems to me he should have been paid that expected bonus because the quarter ended at the end of September, and the bonus was then due. They fired him on October 5th. They definitely shafted him out of that bonus that he worked for and earned. What the law says about bonuses though is a different story, which is why I posted this out here.....to find out if anyone knows the specifics of the law in this area, to see if it's worth it to pursue. And this "friend" is my husband, so yeah, it's personal, and times are tough.....

Thanks again.
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Unread 10-19-2001, 04:13 AM
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Default RE: Termination - Bonus Payment, FL

My knowledge on this topic comes from CPP training, this was 5 years ago and in Maryland, so the laws may be different in Florida if state laws apply. But what I recall is this. If the bonus is discretionary, or the employer does not tell the employee about the bonus and the bonus is not based on production, attendance, etc than the bonus would be forfeited. However if the bonus is non-discretionary or something the employee is told about and is based on the production of that particular employee than it should be due to this employee whether he quit or was fired. The only reason I can think of that the company may say he owes them money for something, ie. loan, uniforms, purchases etc.
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