Refusing work bonus
AKA - Jun 25 2022 at 08:22
So, the company I work for was sold a couple of days ago. The guy that owned it, bought it about 20 years ago for around $1 million. He just sold it for $90 million. He has never done anything with the business, other than buy it. There are about 10 employees, and we have all done everything required. The old owner never even set budget constraints. That was all done by my boss.
Now, I have been literally begging my boss for about 2 months, for everyone in my dept to get a pay raise. Average median salary in my area is $58k a year. We all make about $30k, right now. I was asking to boost us up to $18 an hour, which would bring us to about $36k a year. Still $22k a year less than average for my area.
Normally I wouldn't ask for a raise, as it feels selfish to me. But with how quickly the economic inflation is happening here, we are all feeling the loss of buying power.
So this month, our last owner pretty much canceled our budget. We haven't even been able to afford gas for the company cars. The message that I got from this, is that the old owner wanted to pinch every penny he could out of this place while he sold it.
Our old owner, said that he was going to give us all a bonus. As thanks for our excellent work, so that he could sell the business at a premium price. Now that the place is sold, we were told that our bonus checks would be sent out soon. The bonus? $500.
I want to refuse this bonus, just on principle. The old owner literally made $50k to $100k a month (depending on expenses) for the 20 years he has owned the business, and we just helped to get it sold for $90 million! I feel like this $500 bonus is 2 things. 1, a payoff to make him feel better about leaving us hanging. And 2, an insult.
What do you all think?
P.S. my boss said he is going to try and get us up to $16 an hour ($32k a year).
Have you looked into your national or regional Employment Law about this? Do you have any tribunal regarding Fair Pay or unfulfilled promises by either the old owner (giving you BS and exaggerations to escape the possibility of a load of rotten tomatoes as he exited the door) or the new owner failing to uphold the terms of purchase insisted on by your old owner?
In the meantime, I don't think you can afford - in any sense of the word - to make the bonus money your symbol of protest. Otherwise, you behaviourally contradict your very assertion: that you need MORE MONEY. I therefore think you'd have a strongr case if you took it. Especially as you DO need it AND because - you earned it (and then some) fair and square. In fact, given the abject underpayment over such a long period - that is not a bonus, it's a tiny fraction of back-wages.
Yeah. I have been rethinking the refusal. I have been trying to figure out, how to word my disappointment when my boss hands out the bonus checks (BTW my boss's sister contracts out with a cleaning company to clean the buildings, she just shared that he got a $1 million bonus for assisting with the sale).
As for employee rights, other than Federal equal opportunity laws, we have no real rights. I live in a "right to work" state, and sadly that comes with no state laws that guarantee rights. I have spent hours pouring over state laws on this.
Refusing a bonus sends a message you don't need the money. That's not a great idea, is it?
I don't know what kind of work you do or what kind of industry your employer is. However, what's done is done. The company is sold, and the new owner(s) only owe you the continuation of whatever contracts were in place. Your complaint is with an entity that is now irrelevant.
I would be cautious about believing everything you've heard. Canceling the company budget for **one month** is not going to significantly change anything regarding the sale of the company. Certainly anyone with 90 million dollars to spend is going to look at more than one month's revenue.
Your boss got $1 million bonus? That's your problem, AKA. Your boss doesn't have your back. Not the old owner, not the new one. Your boss is throwing his staff under the bus. He could clearly disperse a little more of his bonus to the staff, and he's not. Giving each of the ten of you $1000 would still leave him 99% of his own bonus. Giving you each $10,000 would still leave him 90% of his million. Something is fishy here, and it has zero to do with the former owner.
Say zero. Look for another job. Your boss is not your friend.