The vanishing holiday bonus
As Christmas approached two years ago, Valerie Bent was looking forward to the sizable semiannual bonus she and her colleagues always received at the investor relations firm where she was a vice president. Although their salaries ranked far below industry standards, the company paid out 90 percent of its profits to its staff as a bonus.
But this time Ms. Bent and other employees received a shock: Despite the most profitable six-month period in the company's 30-year history, and contrary to everyone's expectations, managers reneged on the bonus.
"The company elected to take that money and open plush offices in West Los Angeles and New York," she says. "We were left with zero."