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I see your point, which is very persuasive, but this case is ambiguous because it could be interpreted in either way. As an agreement between the employer and employee, the agreement might be interpreted to apply only to active employees, and on resignation vanishes.

Suppose a company's expense report policy does not clarify whether they will fulfill expenses incurred during employment but filed after resignation. The day after you quit you find an expense receipt you forgot to report. Must the company compensate you? It's ambiguous.




> As an agreement between the employer and employee, the agreement might be interpreted to apply only to active employees, and on resignation vanishes.

The agreement was fulfilled when the referee completed his 6 months, no? At that point it became a debt that the company owed jzhwu, and he only quit a month after. I don't think debts immediately disappear when you quit a company (unless you sign some sort of agreement to that effect). So by default I'd guess that the debt cannot "vanish on resignation".

> Must the company compensate you? It's ambiguous.

It's probably a problem long settled by the courts and labor regulations, actually. Not ambiguous at all.


> At that point it became a debt that the company owed jzhwu

I considered this, too. Obviously I agree that, if it were a debt, then he is entitled to it, and that the debt cannot disappear.

But what if it's not a debt? I think that the debt exists if the creditor makes a claim. Perhaps by not asking for his bonus, the employee lost his opportunity to make a claim, and cannot make a claim after resigning.

Your suggest he claim the debt at any time. How long is he allowed he wait? 10 years? 100 years?

All I'm asking is that you see how this could be argued either way! Obviously a court (or case law) would decide one way or another, but until that point it is ambiguous.


> Perhaps by not asking for his bonus, the employee lost his opportunity to make a claim, and cannot make a claim after resigning.

That would depend in the terms specified in the contract. If the entirety of the contract is the email message which says "We'll pay 10K for a referral that lasts 6 months", then it defaults to the contract laws in their state. I can guarantee that the contract laws of their state do not say "debts owed to employees are void after employment is terminated."

> How long is he allowed he wait? 10 years? 100 years?

Most, probably all, states also have a law defining what the limit on collecting a debt is. It usually falls between 3 and 6 years, and is considerably longer in a few.


There is no ambiguity here. The contract never stated that the bonus is only to be paid out if the employee has handed their notice in.

The CEO's comment here makes me think that this was indeed a contract, so Miso would have had no leg to stand on in a court.


"Everything stupid in life has a legal or accounting reason behind it." -Unknown


It's not ambiguous, it's fact-specific, and a court in such a situation would look to questions of fairness and reasonableness under the circumstances. Absent an extended delay that caused meaningful harm to the company, the employee would almost certainly get his reimbursement.


The fact that you mention a court might review such a situation, strongly suggests it is in fact somewhat ambiguous.


I don't see your logic. A court would review it if one of the sides brought it to court. It doesn't suggest that the issue is 'ambiguous', or that the company has a leg to stand on once they're actually in court.


Many things end up in court that are not ambiguous, which is why summary judgement[1] exists.

Although it is usually impossible to predict the outcome of a vaguely-defined case (I hit and killed you with my car, am I liable?), a case where all relevant facts are known (I hit and killed you with my car while you were legally crossing at a crosswalk, my light was red, and I was speeding) is utterly unambiguous, but will still end up in court if one side refuses to settle, no matter why they refuse.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summary_judgement




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