Do I have to give my bonus back? Ask the Expert

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Q. My new employer insists that if I resign within three months of receiving my bonus, I have to give it back. I think this is unfair - what options do I have?

A. Unless your contract specifically says that you have to return a bonus in these circumstances, it's yours and your employer can't take it back just because you resign.

A claw-back clause like this would be unusual (we haven't come across it before), and even if you do have it in your contract, it could be difficult to enforce, according to Philip Landau, employment partner at London law firm Landau Zeffertt Weir.

If you are asking about a contract you haven't yet signed, see if you can get this clause removed. In any event, it is wise to read the contract carefully before signing it and to show it to an employment lawyer, if there is anything you are unsure about.

Next week's question: Five months ago, I turned down a better job offer, after my manager begged me to stay on and promised to "take care of my career". A month later his attitude changed. He started excluding me from meetings. This has affected me badly. I emailed him about my worries, but he said I was being too emotional and decided that I would no longer work for him. He and HR are to discuss my promotion soon and I fear they will lay me off. Do I have a legal case?

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Look out for the Experts' answer to this dilemma and readers' comments on Ask the Expert next week! If you would like to submit a question to our panel of experts,


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