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Recent Rulings: Commissions/Bonuses

A court in Connecticut recently held that an employee who was fired in violation of her contract was entitled to bonuses and commissions for the time between when she was fired and when her contract was set to expire.  The court held that the amount of money generated by the employer for the two years between when she was fired and when her contract ended should be used to calculate her bonuses and commissions, even though she was not working for the company anymore. 
Cruz v. Visual Perceptions, LLC, 2010 WL 4723074
(Conn. Super. Oct. 29, 2010). 

The Connecticut Supreme Court recently held that bonus payments promised to an executive constituted wages for the purpose of the Connecticut wage statutes.  These statutes entitle an employee who is not paid his wages to recover double damages; that is, twice the amount of money that is owed to him.  The Supreme Court held that the bonus payments in question were wages because the payments were written into the employee’s contract, and thus not discretionary; there was a precise calculation for these bonuses and thus the amount was not discretionary; and the bonuses were directly tied to the employee’s performance and not other factors outside of his control. 
Association Resources, Inc. v. Wall, 2010 WL 3307353
(Conn. August 31, 2010) (Norcott, J.)

A Connecticut Superior Court recently held that an employee could sue his employer to collect a 25% commission payment as well as double damages and attorneys’ fees because the commission payment was not discretionary and therefore counted as “wages” under Connecticut law.  The court held that the commission was compensation for the employee’s services and therefore he was entitled to the double damages and attorney’s fees; unlike a situation in which an employee attempts to collect a bonus that is discretionary and not linked to the employee’s efforts. 
Richard v. Barrett, Docket No. CV09-50050825 (Jan. 29, 2010)
(Riley, J.)

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