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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I have left my job, due to numerous reasons, since leaving

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I have left my job, due to numerous reasons, since leaving my boss has sent several messages, demanding a bonus she awarded be returned, as it was only for people who were loyal to them. While I can accept there was around a week over payment for my being paid mid month, which I am more than happy to return. Is it reasonable to request the bonus be returned?
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

What was the bonus paid out for exactly and how long ago did you leave? Please can you also tell me how long you worked there for?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you Ben.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

No problem at all. Please do provide the information requested. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I'm more than happy to have a response via email, after leaving, I'm not in the best of places. I left because of bullying and name calling, among other things. I knew it wouldn't be great, but since leaving, I have been barraged by quite nasty text messages from my boss and the insistence, I pay the bonus she paid me back. I actually feel a little cheated but I want to ensure I have to return the funds. It wasn't in my contact that any bonuses were retractable.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

OK no problem at all, and what was the bonus paid out for and how long ago did you leave? Also, how long did you work there for?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The bonus was for the previous year, I worked for them from last October and left last month, so just under a year, a week or so after they paid the bonus, I was advised this was for how well they had done over the year and my performance, as i had turned around a very old, unmanageable office..
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
It was only when the name calling, bullying and seeing a customer being mugged outside my office, that I felt I had to leave. It was by no means a reflection on my work, not fulfilling my role, etc. I just felt unsafe, after an incident getting to my car one evening. Unfortunately it wasn't met in the best way. I had been advised of overpay, for which I would be invoiced, which I am happy with.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

OK, thank you for your response. Leave it with me for now and I will review the relevant information and laws and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

Many thanks for your patience. Legally an employer cannot just ask for the return of such payments. Whether the bonus was intended for loyal employees or not, whatever they believe that to mean, it can only be clawed back through a specific claw back clause which allows them to do so. Ideally they need to have set conditions under which the bonus is paid and under which it has to be repaid. For example, it could be that an employee has to remain working for a certain period of time after the payment of the bonus in order to retain it. Whatever conditions they want to impose, these must be very clearly set out in the contract, otherwise they would not be enforceable.

At this stage you cannot be forced to repay any of this back. The employer may of course pursue you for the genuine overpayments, but the remainder of the bonus would be rather difficult to get back. In any event, the only way they can try and do that is by taking you to court and proving that the said specific conditions for repayment have been satisfied, but as we know none existed, it means that the recovery would be extremely difficult. So whatever threats and requests they make, they mean nothing at this time, because only a court can order you to repay this money.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

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Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you ever so much Ben, I did think so, but needed the clarification.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

you are most welcome