Quitting Worker Praised for Calling HR Director’s ‘Get an Attorney’ Bluff

A departing employee has been applauded for taking an HR director to task after they refused to pay out a performance bonus and told him to “get an attorney” if he wanted to challenge it.

Unbeknownst to the HR director, however, the exiting worker’s friend happened to be an attorney. A legal challenge was duly mounted, with the employee’s former boss left ruing his ultimately empty threat.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it unprecedented shifts in the US labor market with quit rates reaching a 20-year high in the latter part of 2021, driven by what has come to be known as the “Great Resignation.”

Any number of factors contributed to the upheaval, but one key theme ran throughout the majority of the reasons cited: job dissatisfaction.

employee-boss-chatting-work.png?w=790&f=6f08edd1a38a6eac0393eb77cdbd59b8 1x”>An employee and boss chat at work.
Stock image of an employee and a boss chat in the office – an HR director was left regretting telling a departing working to “get an attorney” following a dispute over an unpaid bonus.

In March 2022, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey of workers who quit their jobs in 2021 to try and identify the key reasons motivating the change.

According to the results, 63 percent of respondents cited low pay, with an identical percentage pointing to a lack of opportunities for advancement. Meanwhile, 57 percent claimed they had been left feeling disrespected at work.

Much has changed in the world of work over the past few years, with flexible hours and remote working becoming commonplace to many roles. Yet despite positive shifts in many places of employment, it would appear some of the same old problems persist.

An example surfaced on Reddit, where a user post as Virtual_Meeting113 described the circumstances that prompted them to change jobs and the issues faced upon announcing their departure.

It all started after the small firm he worked for was bought up to serve as part of a larger business. During an initial meeting with his new boss, the worker was told he was “doing all the right things for promotion.”

However, the company’s HR director had other ideas and instead offered a deal that promised increased bonuses, stock options and pay rises “maybe in the future” if he stayed.

Despite some increased responsibility and promises of a promotion, the employee decided the job had reached a “dead end” and with a retention bonus due, decided to accept a similar role with a competitor.

However, when it came time to sit down with the HR director, the employee was told that because he was “quitting” he “wouldn’t be getting my retention bonus or performance bonuses.”

The worker was told “it’s just industry standard” but refused to accept this claim, noting that the “wording was very clear” in his contract and he had “met every requirement.” He was then told: “if you want to argue terms, get an attorney.”

Unbeknownst to the HR director however, the departing worker had a close friend who was also an employment attorney. “She was laughing when she saw the contracts,” he wrote. “Said they were some of the worst worded she’d ever seen.”

She confirmed he was “totally right” and they owed him the bonuses and helped him draft some legal documents which included a few “additional fees.”

Eventually he received a “satisfactory” offer from the company’s law firm which his friend reckoned likely cost the company “triple” the amount he had originally asked for. A few months later, he discovered via LinkedIn that the HR director had been fired while his former company was struggling.

For many commenting on social media, the turn of events was a source of much contentment. Fizzlefist branded the employers “idiots,” adding: “A signed contract is a signed contract.”

“Big companies pull this kind of crap all of the time,” Ronearc said. “Many of them will buckle the second they get even a simple inquiry on a law firm‘s letterhead. They know it’ll cost them more in internal legal fees than they’d even wind up paying out.”


“Gotta love this one,” Henry_Bemis added. “I’ve definitely been a victim of this con/mental/emotional manipulation in my career before by lying, manipulating sacks of s*** bosses/HR reps before.”

DaenerysMomODragons, henceforth, lamented: “The sad thing is that while in your particular case they may have lost big in the court settlement and attorney fees, they likely do better overall by doing the industry standard of ignoring contracts, since I’m sure most don’t bother getting an attorney and suing.”

Newsweek reached out to u/virtual_meeting113 for comments. We could not verify the details of the case.

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