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Breach of contract lawsuit follows failure to pay promised bonus

For California employees, employment contracts to stipulate remuneration and benefits can be vital to ensure fair treatment. A company in another state that sells and services heavy equipment for the construction, agricultural and garden service industries is facing a lawsuit that was recently filed by a former employee. The plaintiff alleges breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentations and violations of the Theft Liability Act.

According to the complaint, the defendant offered the plaintiff a position as general manager of a new branch. The plaintiff accepted the offer on June 20, 2014, and alleges the agreed employment terms included a $16,000 bonus upon signing the contract, $130,000 as an annual salary and participation in a special bonus plan for managers for the 2015 fiscal year. He further alleges that the bonus plan was to be prorated from the start date of his employment, and the bonus fund plan stated that the funds would be distributed on or before March 15, 2015.

The lawsuit states that the plaintiff was dismissed on Feb. 12, 2015, at which time the company allegedly agreed to pay any outstanding wages and compensation for paid time off to which applicable employment laws entitled him. However, the plaintiff claims that the company failed to pay his portion of the manager bonus plan as stated in the employment agreement. Although he requested the money in writing, the defendant has thus far failed to pay the money.

The plaintiff demanded a trial by jury and seeks recovery of damages he incurred as the result of the breach of contract along with legal fees. Employees in California are considered "at will" and can be terminated for almost any reason except for reasons like discrimination. However, any agreements reached related to remunerations or other benefits, whether verbally or in writing, could be binding, and a breach of contract in such circumstances may lead to legal action. An experienced employment law attorney can guide a client through the legal proceedings of litigation against an employer.

Source: setexasrecord.com, "Man alleges unpaid bonus after termination from RDO Equipment", Travis Zuellig, Feb. 12, 2016