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  • Unpaid Bonus

    I have a situation at work that I was hoping I could get some advice on. My first job out of residency had a wRVU bonus clearly written into the contract for my second (and final) year (7/1/2018-6/30/2019). Of note, there was no discretionary clause written into the bonus section of the contract. I worked hard and earned what I believe to be a nice bonus. Unfortunately, it's been 6 months since the end of the contract and despite multiple e-mails and conversations in person I have yet to receive anything.

    There have been a number of excuses for the delay. These have included the fact that they are still awaiting payments from their accounts receivable as well as the recent discovery that our previous office manager apparently embezzled a large sum of money from them. I feel like both of these issues really aren't my problem.

    My question is should I lawyer up at this point and threaten to or actually sue? I should note that I still work in the same office as the partners who owe me the money. The only change is that the practice was bought out by a local hospital after the end of my contract (I knew that this buy-out was most likely going to happen before I signed my initial contract, although it did take longer than expected) so they are technically no longer my bosses. But I do see them and work closely with them on a daily basis. Appreciate any advice you may have.

  • #2
    Yes

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    • #3
      Yep, no-brainer from where I'm looking at it. You've done what you can, now you'll need to take a different route. From what you've said about the buyout, etc, sooner is probably better than later, too.
      I should have been a pair of ragged claws. Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

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      • #4
        That sucks. Time to take it up a notch.

        Comment


        • #5
          It's your money so I would be aggressive going after it. I suspect your contract didn't have language saying your bonus was dependent upon accounts receivable or someone not embezzling money. It hasn't been said but I'm sure it's obvious...time for a new job.

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          • #6
            The partners got paid for selling the practice. Presumably they got paid enough to cover your bonus, but are choosing not to.

            It won’t be cheaper for them to pay your bonus, their legal fees, and your legal fees. They should do the right thing.
            Last edited by Hank; 12-30-2019, 04:36 PM.

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            • #7
              Do read the contract to see what it says about mandatory arbitration, etc. I would pay a lawyer to write a strongly worded letter with 15-day required payment and send it certified. Then start the timer.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by GUtiger View Post
                Do read the contract to see what it says about mandatory arbitration, etc. I would pay a lawyer to write a strongly worded letter with 15-day required payment and send it certified. Then start the timer.
                I would also encourage this to have a separate piece of paper with nothing but the silhouette of a middle finger. I've found that tends to help these types of situations.

                Comment


                • Tim
                  Tim commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Left hand is considered culturally appropriate.

              • #9
                agree you need to pursue legal action, and quick. It will take an analysis of contracts I assume to figure out who owes you the money at this point. Maybe in the buyout the prior owners are on the hook for outstanding liabilities. Or maybe the hospital took on outstanding liabilities.

                How certain are you of your production numbers for the period of time in question?

                Comment


                • daman42886
                  daman42886 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I am pretty certain of the wRVU numbers. Not only did I keep track of it myself, but I was able to obtain a report of all my charges and associated wRVU values from the billing department for the year in question. The values are very close to each other.

                • jacoavlu
                  jacoavlu commented
                  Editing a comment
                  good work

              • #10
                Are you speaking to the right person? If so, I would have a polite but firm conversation that you will be expecting to receive the bonus as well as reimbursement of attorney's fees. Is this how they want to proceed? It's not a threat, a professional courtesy about collecting money due to you. Any discussion needed ? Max is check in hand within one week. Best you can do.

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                • #11
                  Appreciate all the responses. Looks like I only have one option at this point, as I feel like 5-6 months is enough time for them to get their act together. Thanks.

                  Comment


                  • Tim
                    Tim commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I once had a CEO at an LBO closing refuse to sign without having his buyout with a certified check. Once he signed, leverage gone, the check is in the mail. His response was pleasant, simply "I know how to collect accounts receivable. Its just business. Get the check and I'll sign." It's just business.

                • #12
                  1) How much money are you owed? If the amount is not substantial, it isn’t worth your time or money going after what you were previously promised.

                  2) Was the entity you worked for and contracted with a corporate entity? Does that corporate entity even exist any longer post sale? If not, you may not recover anything when attempting to sue a defunct corporation. But it would depend if the new owner bought the corporation and in the process took over its obligations, or not. The details matter and it may take time and money to even answer those questions and to find out whether or not you could potentially recover anything from a legal perspective. What is morally correct and what is legally possible may be very different.

                  Comment


                  • daman42886
                    daman42886 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    1) I'm owed over $50K which is enough to make it worth it for me.

                    2) This is something I hadn't thought about and is a little disconcerting. I worked for the corporation which no longer exists after the sale, as far as I know. I'm not aware of whether the new owner took over their obligations/debts and am not sure how to find out. I assume I couldn't sue the owners themselves as individuals. Perhaps, a lawyer (which I am looking for) could help me with some of these questions. Thank you for the insight.

                • #13
                  How much we talking? Also, it will depend on the details of the sale. If that sale was asset vs stock purchase may make a difference. You may be suing a colleague or the hospital, probably the former.

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                  • #14
                    daman42886 commented
                    Yesterday, 10:38 PM
                    1) I'm owed over $50K which is enough to make it worth it for me.

                    2) This is something I hadn't thought about and is a little disconcerting. I worked for the corporation which no longer exists after the sale, as far as I know. I'm not aware of whether the new owner took over their obligations/debts and am not sure how to find out. I assume I couldn't sue the owners themselves as individuals. Perhaps, a lawyer (which I am looking for) could help me with some of these questions. Thank you for the insight.



                    Hi daman42886,

                    For an attorney to answer your questions as to the status of transfer of obligations from the prior corporation, there would likely need to be filing of a case, subpoenas, interrogatories, and perhaps depositions to answer those questions. In my state, the minimum retainer for an attorney to take on a case such as yours would be around $10,000. And the $10,000 would only be to determine the status of the obligations of the former corporation that you worked for. After spending that significant sum of money, you would then know if you might have a legal case or not. It sounds like you are in an unfavorable position to recover the money, given that you would have to spend a significant sum to even determine if you have a chance of recovering anything.

                    If I was in your shoes, and if I remained on good terms with my former boss, I would invite them out for lunch and ask them about the details of the sale of the corporation. Maybe you can find out if the corporate debts and obligations transferred with the sale or not. Maybe your former boss would even help you recover what you had coming to you. But maybe I am simply being irrationally optimistic. Then again, your former boss does work alongside of you every day. Maybe they are willing to help you.

                    I am sorry for your loss of your productivity bonus. When companies are sold, things change, some obligations are met and others are not.

                    Comment


                    • #15
                      ^^^ the former boss (owners) owes the OP the money

                      the fact they’re still chasing AR (or say so) suggests someone cares about outstanding assets and logic would suggest someone is still on the hook for outstanding liabilities. It’s either former owners or new owner.

                      owners presumably got paid in the sale. That payment may not be structured all at once. There may be contingencies.

                      I would file suit ASAP

                      Comment

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