I have a question a question regarding the notifcation of changes in incentive plans. I'm a "Senior Mgr" in the company and am comp'd with a base plus a quarterly incentive plan.
Late in 2005 my company presented us with a "new" incentive plan - one which outlined quarterly incentive criteria with starting at a target of $25,000 (and adjusting based on performance in defined criteria). This plan defined my "Senior Mgr" incentive plan and that of my subordinates in fine detail - in this scenario, the subordinate target payout were 25% lower than the Senior Mgr targets.
Fast forward to second quarter 2006 and a new incentive plan is introduced. This one lowers the target down to $15K, BUT this incentive plan is clearly defined as the plan for my suboridinates (all markings on the 5 page plan indicate it's the subordinates incentive comp plan - there's nothing to indicate it covers the senior managers plan (unlike the 2005 document which indicated it covered both levels).
At the end of the second quarter I was notified the Senior Mgr plan - my plan - would now mirror the subordinate plan in that the target bonuses were equal (this was a significant reduction in incentive comp for the Senior Mgrs). I requested a copy of the plan details (specifically looking for something that indicated the new plan covered "Senior Mgrs" but repeated requests went unanswered). I received and accepted incentive bonuses for both the second and third quarters of 2006 at the lower target level - I'm waiting on the fourth quarter incentive now. If it matters, I'm based in Texas
Having outlined the background, my questions are the following:
Do I have recourse to pursue the difference between the verbally communicated plan (the 2006 plan) and the clearly documented 2005 plan? The "verbal" change in target incentive has resulted in a loss of more than $40K in incentive compensation.
Does an employer have the responsibility to document and clearly communicate changes in incentive comp ? I ask this because I understand employers can and do change compensation (often based on "terms and conditions" of employment), but in this case I was never presented with the documentation outlining the lower incentive plan - just the affirmation "your plan is now their plan (i.e., the subordinates)." No reasoning was given for this reduction in target incentive and, despite repeated requests, no documentation was give to me.
I appreciate this is a long post - apologies! I'd rather get the proper information up front - having outlined all the facts - than waste anyone's time if I have nothing to stand on. I've searched many sites looking for employment law references to this situation but have come up empty handed.
Appreciate any insight the board can offer.