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Can a bonus that an employer had promised to pay, after resignation, be cancelled?

Lake City, FL |
Filed under: Employment contracts

I was a share holder in a company in which I was also employed as a general manager. My shares were bought by the other share holders. Prior to my leaving the company the presdient of the company had agreed to pay me a $5000.00 , as I had worked for the company with out any benefits. I had called in the bonus to the payroll company, prior to my resignation as I was the authorized person for calling in all payroll changes etc. The new manager blocked the relase of the the bonus, and the payroll company will not give me an answer as to when I will be paid? All they can tell me is that the new management has blocked the payment and that they have not been paid for the previous payroll- since I was a leased employee through the payroll company can they stop payment?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Hard to say. Do you have a written employment agreement with them? If so, presumably it would deal with your rights, upon termination of employment. If this promise was outside of the agreement, than that makes it more complicated. At that point, it could be your word against his, and there might even be an argument that he lacked the authority to agree to this.

    If not, then you may need to send them a letter, (or have your lawyer do so). It is possible that they are just running this "through proper channels." If that is not the case, you may need to take them to court. A small claims proceeding in Florida is for any matter involving $5,000 or less.

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.


  2. It appears that your former Employer has "blocked" the payment of this bonus. Your question at this point, is "what is my legal recourse?" In order to determine this answer, you will need to consult with a business attorney and provide them with any and all documentation that you have, including without limitation employment agreements, shareholder's agreements, separation agreements, and the employee handbook. Additionally, if the "bonus" agreement was verbal, you will need to determine if there is any proof or other way to substantiate your version of the terms regarding the verbal agreement to pay you a bonus. While verbal agreements are enforceable in Florida, they can be difficult to prove in these situations.


  3. You'll have a bit of homework to do, as indicated above, but it seems like you certainly have an actionable claim. Most lawyers who specialize in this kind of work charge on an hourly basis. Because of the amount of your claim, it may be best for you to bring the action yourself in small claims court. The rules of procedure are simple and can be easily found on the internet or at your local library. If you go to www.columbiaclerk.com and click on the "forms" tab, you'll find the information and forms necessary to file an action in your county. You may also want to consult with corporate attorney in your area to make sure you weren't cheated in the share buyout. Good luck.

    Please note: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Visiting this site does not create an attorney client relationship between our firm or any of its lawyers and you. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your particular situation.

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