Compensation and Bonus Disputes

Many financial industry professionals depend on a professional bonus at the end of the year as part of their total compensation. In most instances, a bonus, which is often referred to in the industry as, “incentive compensation” or a “discretionary bonus,” constitutes a significant percentage of that financial industry professional’s annual compensation. In fact, for many of the top professionals on Wall Street, that bonus is larger than their base salary. However, just because a firm alleges that a financial industry professional did not earn his or her bonus or that it was “discretionary,” does not mean that he or she is not entitled to it. The course of dealing between the employer and financial services professional may evidence an implied promise by the employer that the bonus constituted part of the employee’s contract. An employee may also be entitled to recover a bonus pursuant to an oral agreement for labor or services personally rendered by the employee. When these disputes arise, an employee may feel like they are without any means of recourse or feel too frustrated to effectively negotiate for themselves. Hiring an attorney may help you resolve a potential bonus dispute. Generally, an attorney can help because bonus disputes involve significant amounts of money and may represent a significant portion of income or of company profits.

Another situation where bonus disputes arise is when a financial services professional leaves a job before bonuses are paid, for whatever reason. This creates a situation in which the employer has a strong incentive not to pay the bonus, even if the employee has earned his or her bonus. However, an employee may have a right to his or her pro-rata bonus, even if that employee has voluntarily left the financial firm, or was dismissed allegedly for cause before the time of the issuance of annual bonuses.

Our team at Lax & Neville have extensive experience resolving compensation and bonus disputes. In addition, we will examine whether discrimination, wrongful termination, or retaliation played a part in the reduction of a bonus or no bonus payment at all.

We are highly experienced in bonus disputes cases involving:

  • Investment bankers
  • Stock, bond, options, commodities, futures, derivatives and currency traders
  • Research analysts
  • Financial analysts
  • Senior managers
  • Portfolio managers
  • Hedge fund managers
  • Retail brokers
  • Private bankers
  • Investment advisers
  • Institutional salespersons
  • Senior level personnel

Many of these compensation and bonus disputes are filed in arbitration at FINRA. Lax & Neville LLP has won FINRA awards relating to compensation and bonus disputes. In the past, FINRA arbitration panels have also rendered other large monetary awards due to a financial firm’s failure to pay rightfully earned bonuses and other compensation to employees. However, FINRA arbitration is not the only way to resolve a compensation and bonus dispute. Our firm has also successfully resolved many cases for unpaid compensation and bonuses through direct negotiation or mediation.

If you have been deprived of a bonus, or want to challenge a decision made regarding your bonus, contact the attorneys of Lax & Neville LLP for a free consultation on possible strategies regarding bonus dispute resolution. We have significant experience and success in the recovery of bonus disputes for employees.

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