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Bonus and Commission Disputes

Resolving Claims to Unpaid Bonuses and Commissions

At the law firm of Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, many of our employment law clients are Wall Street professionals who lost their jobs during the severe dislocations in the investment banking and commercial credit industries in 2008. Many former traders, analysts, specialists and managers left with questions about their right to unpaid bonuses. Displaced securities brokers often have similar questions about sales commissions. Our lawyers help resolve disputes over bonus and commission rights through negotiation, mediation, FINRA arbitration or civil litigation.

Coming to Grips With the Facts of a Bonus or Commission Dispute

As much as 80 percent of a Wall Street professional's total compensation might come in the form of a year-end bonus, but the question of whether and when a full or partial bonus is due can get very complicated. When did bonus rights vest — in the first year, or after three years? How is the bonus paid — cash, restricted stock or another form? Were bonus payment decisions on separation made in a manner consistent with company policy or industry practice? Or was the timing of a layoff manipulated so as to undermine bonus rights?

Sales commission disputes can also turn on close questions of fact. When is the sale complete — on execution of a contract, delivery of the goods or services, or receipt of payment? Just as in bonus situations, these issues can be determined by company policies or conventions within the industry. Evidence of disparate treatment with respect to bonus or commission payments can also support an employee's claims of discrimination or retaliation in a workplace dispute.

Our Attorneys Can Advise You About the Best Ways to Resolve Your Claims

While anyone employed in the securities industry will probably find that FINRA arbitration will be the mandatory means of dispute resolution in an unpaid bonus case, executives and professionals in other industries will usually have a wider range of options for resolving disputes. Bonus and commission payments will certainly figure into severance discussions if we get the opportunity to represent your interests while you're still employed.

After resignation or termination, our analysis of your rights to unpaid bonuses or commissions will play an important role in the development of settlement strategies, negotiating positions in mediation, or a demand for damages in civil litigation.

Whether your rights arise under an executive bonus agreement, a salesman's contract or standard industry practices on Wall Street or elsewhere, the Firm can advise and represent you to avoid or resolve disputes in New York or New Jersey.