Civil/Commercial Litigation (Lawsuits)/Employment contract dispute
Good afternoon Morgan.
I'm going to try to make this short but it's complicated. Here's the cliff notes version;
I was employed by a TX LLC with 2 owners. They are now in litigation and the company is having trouble. As a result I was laid of specifically for a "lack of work in my area" (I live/work in New Mexico).
I was laid off on 3/29. I had not been paid my bonus from 2012 so I mentioned it to the remaining owner so it could be paid. We went back and forth in emails, he said he wasn't sure how it was calculated (he was the hands "off" owner), asked if I had any documentation about my bonus (which at the time I couldn't locate), he sent another email saying we'd discuss because he wanted to be fair to me, etc.. I subsequently found my Offer Letter which expressly states "A Production bonus paid at the end of each year equaling 30% of your production above $10,000 per month." Pretty cut and dry to me.
I was employed with them on 6/25/12 and 4 of the 6 months of 2012 I exceeded my goals and am owed a bonus of approximately $2,800.
He has now sent me an email stating that I "wasn't employed for a full year and in his opinion, I don't deserve a bonus." Despite the Offer Letter which I accepted and was signed by the President of the Company. There is absolutely NO stipulation or condition that I have to be employed for a year and even with the 2 months I missed my goals in 2012, when all is totaled together, I had a goal of $60,000 in production and produced over $65,000. So no matter how you slice it, in my mind and reasoning, I'm owed a bonus.
So, my questions are; is the Offer Letter a legally binding document as I presume it to be? If so, how difficult is it to enforce? And should I chose to pursue it, which I believe I will, do I pursue with the Labor Department in my state or in TX or both? Or do I pursue it in a civil court?
Any assistance you can offer is greatly appreciated. And thanks for volunteering your time.
Before I respond further to your question, I must make clear that I do not represent you, and cannot give you individual particularized legal advice. No attorney client relationship is created by this email. For legal advice, you should hire your own attorney, and follow their advice. My role with AllExperts is limited to providing general information and suggestions for educational or general knowledge purposes. Before you take any action, consult with your own attorney.
A contract can take many forms, there are verbal contracts, implied contracts and express written contracts. There is not a magic format that makes a writting a contract. I recall a case read in school where the "contract" was a cocktail napkin that the parties wrote terms on and initialled. Any writting that demonstrates to the judge a mutual intent to be bound by the terms therein can be found by the judge to be a contract and evidence of a binding agreement.
I suggest that you take your Offer Letter to a lawyer licensed to practice law in your area, along with everything else about this dispute, and work together rapidly to get your case filed as a civil suit so you can try to win a judgment to collect your money. In my opinion, it certainly won't hurt to report to any appropriate authorities also. You may also want to talk with your attorney about piercing the corporate veil to get after the human beings that hired you since it sounds to me like the company is imploding and it occurs to me that a judgment against a penniless company isn't worth much.
I hope this helps, good luck to you.
SMITH & RAVER LLP
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