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Woman denied contractual entitlement to bonus

24 March 2010

Our client had a contractual entitlement to be paid a bonus on a quarterly basis which was based on personal and departmental performance rather than overall company performance.
She was told that her bonus was being unilaterally changed to being paid annually rather than quarterly and then told that she would not be paid a bonus at all for that year. She was told that all senior management had agreed to waive their entitlement to a bonus due to the economic circumstances of the company and said that they had the right to alter the scheme in any event. We advised our client that the company did not have the right to alter the scheme retrospectively, particularly when she had already achieved the quarterly targets which would normally have meant she would have been paid the bonus. We also advised that the employer did not have the right to change the scheme going forward without her agreement. Our client, with our help, challenged the employer through internal company processes, and the matter was eventually resolved in a way that vindicated our client's position.