How do you deal with an employee who demands a bonus in these times? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

How do you deal with an employee who demands a bonus in these times?

Get PDF file

by on
in The HR Specialist Forum

Our company is struggling to survive. One of our employees has demanded an increase in the bonus that we have traditionally paid in the past. We don’t know we will be able to afford bonuses this year, and we have spoken to him about the situation. Now he insists on bringing in a third person to negotiate on his behalf. He asked to see the company's financials, which the president agreed to show him this week. He says his negotiator—who, it turns out, is his girlfriend—“has coached many executives and companies in our exact situation.” He refuses to understand that the money is not there. He has a two-year contract that will expire in November 2009. How should we handle this situation?—MA

See responses below

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

celt365 April 1, 2009 at 8:48 am

Pay him no more than contractually required (as long as you don’t recieve a bailout ) and don’t allow the girlfriend to negotiate. If he’s not happy with that then he is free to leave in November. I wouldn’t have shown him the financials but what’s done is done. I wouldn’t set the precendent for others to “negotiate” a higher bonus in tough times. I would not renew this jerk’s contract either.


Karen March 31, 2009 at 5:14 pm



Brian March 25, 2009 at 12:20 am

You have to ask the question “What is this persons value to the company” If you are talking about someone in business development who is bringing in 50% of your business you have to ask yourself can you survive without him. On the other hand if you feel you can survive without him you have to stand your ground and pay no more than you are contractually obligated to. In todays business environment most employees do not have the same options they did a couple of years ago and to make demands like this are unacceptable. As for his girlfriend negotiating his compensation package, absolutely not. He is the employee not her. My guess is he is using her to be the bad guy or gal in this case. Allowing her into the mix only empowers him to ask for more. Always remember, you are running the company not him and if he does leave you will be able to find 100 others who want his job.

Best of luck


Stephanie March 25, 2009 at 12:09 am

If the employee has a guaranteed bonus in his employment contract, then, unfortunately, you are obligated to pay it. If however, he is not guaranteed a bonus, then there is no reason to give him one. If this is the case, then tell him to turn on the news and see what’s going on in our country before he demands something the company is unable to provide. If he persists with his demands, I would suggest he seek employment elsewhere.


Susan Jennings March 24, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Did not get the responses on this article. Should I be looking somewhere else?



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: