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Man Fired From His Job Right Before Getting His Bonus — And The Reasons Why Were Completely Made Up

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man fired right before his bonus was due

Getting fired or laid off is bad enough, but it often seems like some companies do all they can to twist the knife on your way out.

One man on TikTok found himself in this position, and it's left him feeling powerless. But lawyers say workers like him often have rights they don't realize.

The man was fired right before his bonus was due for completely made-up reasons.

Getting fired or laid off is more often than not a total blindside. Sometimes, you can smell it in the air if the company is doing poorly or you have a contentious relationship with management. 

In the case of a TikToker named Jason, his firing was completely out of nowhere.

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The reasons for Jason's firing seemed to be totally fabricated for the express purpose of avoiding paying him the bonus he'd been waiting for.

Days before his bonus, Jason was given a series of reprimands that misrepresented performance reviews and discussions with his boss.

"I don't care how irreplaceable you think you are at work, they can and will let you go for any reason at all," Jason began his video, and he knew of what he was speaking. 

He was hit with a "final warning" and a performance improvement plan out of nowhere, "despite my performance reviews in the past being, 'not only meets expectations but exceeds expectations.'" 

   

   

Sarcastically calling the move "convenient," he explained that this all went down "right before they pay out my bonus for the past year of working there." But almost more galling were the outright lies he found in the warnings he received. 

He was reprimanded for not taking an adequate number of development courses after not being given any direction for how many he needed to complete and when.

His performance review referenced a meeting with his boss and listed several "concerns" discussed by both him and his boss, "even though all we talked about was how well I was doing and how much progress I had made." 

Man Fired Right Before Getting His BonusPhoto: Photo: fizkes / Shutterstock.com

"The whole thing is lies," he said, and six days after receiving the final warning and corrective action report full of misrepresentations, he was terminated, as was his bonus. "It is what it is, man. They can do it and I can't do much about it," he said.

But it turns out that might not be true in every case. 

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Letting employees go right before receiving their bonuses is unfortunately very common, but workers often do have rights to their money.

Much like doing layoffs right before Christmas, companies getting rid of employees right before their bonus is set to pay out is a common practice for primarily one obvious reason: it saves the company money — and that's particularly attractive at the end of a quarter or fiscal year. 

Employees often do have rights in these situations. According to the National Law Review, while laws vary significantly from state to state, workers often have legal recourse and entitlements that they and their employers often have no idea exist. 

Man Fired Right Before Getting His BonusPhoto: PreciousJ / Shutterstock.com

Some states' laws, like California, for example, protect bonuses even if a worker is fired, while others base eligibility on the nature or timing of the termination.

Lawyers say the first step is to thoroughly read your employment contract, which many states require to stipulate what happens to a bonus or commission if employment is terminated.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management, no news is usually good news: If your contract doesn't say termination also terminates your bonus, it's most likely that you're still entitled to the money.

If all else fails, contact an attorney. Particularly in cases like Jason's, where there are two wildly deviating versions of events, lawyers say you may have grounds for a wrongful termination case, let alone a bonus payout. 

This is, incidentally, why everyone from lawyers to workers' advocates to HR professionals urges employees to always keep a paper trail of discussions with management, bosses, and leadership.

Most of the time, we are just a number to our companies, after all. A little proactivity can save a lot of headaches down the road. 

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.