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Bonuses are wages says the Appellate Court!

In yet another victory for employees, in what is shaping up to be a banner year for employees in Connecticut, the Appellate Court has held that a bonus is a wage if it is in exchange for services.  See Ziotas v. The Reardon Law Firm, P.C.  The importance of this holding is that employees can win double damages and attorneys fees if they sue for wages and show that the employer acted “arbitrarily, unreasonably or in bad faith” in refusing to pay them.  An associate attorney of the Reardon Law Firm sued under an employment contract that provided for a base salary and an annual bonus for such things as “business generation, business productivity, quality of work/professional abilitiy [and] work profitability,…”  The plaintiff won a pro rata bonus even though he did nto complete the calendar year and even though there was no fixed formula for its calculation.  This case should make employers think twice before denying bonuses to employees who leave or are terminated before the year’s end.  Congratulations to Anthony Fitzgerald of Carmody & Torrance for this important win!