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Should bonus have been with withdrawn?

The company I work for put together a short list of bonuses to be paid. The payroll was run although the direct deposit had not hit the employees bank accounts. One employee resigned due to her fiance accepting a position in another state. She is not leaving until August. The ownership withdrew the bonus. Looking for thoughts and feelings on this situation.


Topic Expert
Edward Abbati
Title: Vice President of Finance
Company: Location Labs
LinkedIn Profile
(Vice President of Finance, Location Labs) |

Unless it is in writing, your owner can do anything. However, if hit that persons account and this person was promised a bonus, they I don't think you will have much luck getting the money back. I am not a lawyer but a promise to pay whether in verbal or written is a contract.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Not enough info to make a determination on legality but....

The internal damage to morale will cost them more than the bonus.

The question that will be asked over and over again "can I or should I trust the company?"

Sara Voight
Title: Controller
Company: Critical Signal Technologies, Inc
(Controller, Critical Signal Technologies, Inc) |

Even though you are in the finance department and privy to confidential information, this decision will find its way through the rest of the company. Ownership just told the rest of the company to look out only for themselves. The concept of giving advance notice (more than 2 weeks) to help with a transition is not in the employee's best interest. They can look forward to more last minute notices in the future, given the day after payment is received.

Lisa Strassman, MBA
Title: Director of Finance and Corporate Contro..
Company: Daikin America, Inc.
(Director of Finance and Corporate Controller, Assistant Treasurer, Daikin America, Inc.) |

Of course, Management can do whatever they want, but aren't bonuses meant to reward employees for past performance? Not only will the company watch morale will suffer from this shortsighted action (seems a bit tacky, don't you think?), but they could also find that in the future, anyone looking to leave will try to time their departure for immediately after the direct deposit hits their bank account!

Jan Spiegel
Title: Owner
Company: Your Bookkeeping Matters, current
(Owner, Your Bookkeeping Matters, current) |

If it's for past performance, the employee should be due her bonus. After all, she worked for it. I agree that taking it away will certainly hurt morale and cause more last minute resignations. No more are the days of loyalty between an employee and employer.

Ken Stumder
Title: Finance Director / Controller
Company: Ken Stumder, CPA
(Finance Director / Controller, Ken Stumder, CPA) |

Definitely poor form by ownership, legality and documentation status aside. The employee delivered on what they were supposed to, or else they would not have earned the bonus. Ownership should have delivered on its word as well.


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