What your contract says about your bonus is significant. There have been many legal disputes assessing the language of employment contracts in recent years. Many of these cases focus on bonuses.
An employer can try to limit what you receive through the words in your contract. They can do so by making the bonus calculation and payment completely discretionary. They can also include language in the contract that prevents you from receiving payment after you have been terminated – even if you have earned it.
In a 2015 case, an Ontario judge found that a terminated employee was not entitled to any bonus, even though he had received one every year in the past. The judge held that the bonus was entirely at the employer’s discretion and since there was no formula listed in the contract, the employee was not entitled to the payment.
In a 2017 case, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that even though an employee had worked the full year and earned the bonus, he would not receive the payment because he had been fired before the date the bonus was to be paid. The Court found that the language of the employment contract was strong enough to deny the employee this payment.
It is essential to understand what your employment contract says and to negotiate changes to key clauses. Without doing so, you could end up with no bonus, even where you have worked diligently for your employer.
An employment lawyer can assist you by reviewing each term of an employment contract and suggesting changes to the offer that benefit you. If you have an employment contract that you would like reviewed, a lawyer at MacLeod Law Firm would be happy to assist you. If you would like to speak to a lawyer at MacLeod Law Firm, you can reach us at [email protected] or 647-204-8107.
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