Bonus Disputes Solicitors

If you would like to speak to one of our solicitors on a confidential basis about a bonus dispute please call us on 0203 178 5360 or contact us online.

We regularly advise senior executives and other high net-worth individuals on bonus disputes; High Court litigation; and high value settlement agreements (compromise agreements). We can assist you in the recovery of any bonus or commission, either through negotiation or legal action.

Bonus Claims

The area of bonus claims is primarily governed by contract law and any claim demands careful scrutiny of the bonus scheme’s terms. Following this, issues such as discrimination legislation (including Equal Pay) or FCA regulations may also become relevant.

An unpaid guaranteed (or awarded) bonus or commission payment may simply be a “debt” and relatively simple to recover. Complications can arise, however, if you have been dismissed or have resigned prior to payment. Reasons for termination and how the contract is drafted will affect any recovery.

Further complications can arise if the claim relates to discretionary bonuses i.e. where the employer decides how much, if any, is paid to an employee. Whilst a more difficult claim, some discretionary bonuses can be recovered through a breach of contract claim or discrimination claim. As most bonus schemes are expressed as discretionary, disputes are common. Kervin & Barnes has represented clients both in the High Court and during negotiated settlements.

Whilst an employer may reserve the right to decide whether or not a bonus will be paid (and the amount of the bonus) they must exercise their discretion on (essentially) reasonable grounds and in good faith.

Common issues relating to bonuses

  • Employers acting in an irrational or perverse way as regards discretionary bonus schemes
  • Disagreements over the meeting of targets (team, individual or company) which trigger a bonus
  • Recovery of bonuses which are promised informally or otherwise imprecisely outlined
  • Whether or not a bonus must be paid if the employee is working “under notice”
  • Disputes over payment of bonuses while the employee is on maternity, paternity or parental leave
  • Legal hurdles faced by financial institutions in the pursuit of paying bonuses, particularly in relation to caps, sign-on payments and deferred payments
  • Employers attempting to recover bonus payments from employees due to breach of post-termination restrictions

Recent instructions include:

  • Representing a director in her discrimination claim (Employment Tribunal) in respect of the non-payment of a discretionary bonus prior to and during her maternity leave
  • Negotiating the terms of a high value Settlement Agreement based on profit allocation and deferred payment arrangement (in excess of £1,500,000) for a senior executive
  • Advising a Managing Director at an investment bank on a dispute over a pre-contractual oral commitment to a guaranteed minimum bonus (£1,750,000)

Talk to a specialist employment lawyer

If you would like to speak to one of our solicitors on a confidential basis about a bonus dispute please call us on 0203 178 5360 or contact us online.

We act for companies as well as individuals, which assists in strategising cases.