severance & retention bonuses when company is sold

I work for a company, in NC, that announced it would be winding-down their operations over the next 4 years. This company A is a wholly owned subsidiary (LLC.) of company B. I am technically an employee of company B. I, along with all remaining employees, was given a guaranteed retention bonus (signed contract between me and company A) to stay. If company A or B moves my end date up, I get all of the retention bonus. Now, company B is looking at selling company A to company C. Subsequently, management is now not committing to paying the retention bonus. Question is two fold...

1. When company A is sold am I laid off or terminated from company B and then hired by company C, ?

2. Is company B liable for the retention bonus or can this be transferred without my consent to company C?

1 answer  |  asked May 13, 2003 8:48 PM [EST]  |  applies to North Carolina

Answers (1)

Reagan Weaver
contract rights

My compliments on seeking advice before something bad happens. Lawyers can often do much more if you take steps in preparation of what may happen.

As to what will happen to your job, you may have to wait to see what happens. Meanwhile, I would try to make sure that everyone who needs to know how valuable you are knows it. As to the retention bonus, your rights will be judged first by the contents of the agreement. The only exception to this would be if the agreement is subject to the provisions of ERISA. I suspect that the contents of the agreement would remain very important to determining your rights however. Thus, I would suggest that you have a lawyer look at the agreement.

Unless you want to come to Raleigh, I would suggest that you contact Geraldine Sumter at Ferguson, Stein, Chambers,et al in Charlotte. They are an excellent employment law firm. If Ms. Sumter cannot get free to help you, there are several attorneys at that firm who would be good. Their number is 704.375.8461. Of course I will be glad to advise you, but in person advice is far more valuable. Good luck!

posted by Reagan Weaver  |  May 14, 2003 10:30 AM [EST]

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