Lawsuit alleges Mercury failed to pay bonuses

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Mercury Marine is being sued for allegedly failing to pay bonuses that were promised to about 100 managers if they achieved significant cost savings across the company.

The suit was originally filed last month in Wisconsin’s Fond du Lac County Circuit Court by Henry Hegel, a Mercury manager who lives in North Carolina. The company filed papers this week to have the case transferred to Federal District Court in Green Bay, Wis.

Mercury officials could not be reached this morning for comment.

According to court documents, Mercury executives met with about 100 management employees in April 2008 to discuss a bonus incentive plan aimed at reducing costs. The managers were asked “to take difficult and aggressive steps, which required above and beyond their normal duties to achieve company-wide cost savings.”

In exchange, the managers were promised a bonus at the end of calendar year 2008 amounting to 10 percent of the cost savings achieved. Those cost savings totaled about $78 million. However, in early 2009, Mercury notified plan participants that it had decided not to pay out any bonuses, according to the suit.

The complaint alleges breach of unilateral contract, wage claim, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment and breach of an implied duty of good faith and fair dealing.

The complaint seeks recovery of allegedly owed wages on behalf of Hegel and the purported class. This includes $7 million for the bonuses, plus a civil penalty of 50 percent, bringing the total award request to more than $10 million.


14 comments on “Lawsuit alleges Mercury failed to pay bonuses

  1. Old Salt

    Sure fellas…good luck on that lawsuit. If it was not  an upfront signed legal document from the lawyers at Brunswick then you get nothing.

  2. CaptainCrunch

    If they were dumb enough to proceed without a contract on that one in the current economy, they deserve what they got-nothing.   What happens to the poor folks on the factory floor that they put the screws to in order to accomplish that cost savings?

  3. Small Raisin

    Sure guys, cry in your $120.00 bottle of merlot. You might have to start living like the rest of us that work hard and get dirty doing it for a $9.00 bottle.

  4. Noel Osborne

    Hey guys.
    It all depends on which state you are in. Pennsylvania, where I have a home, treats a verbal agreement as a contract in most cases. I don’t know about Wisconsin

  5. Grand Man

    This is a shame especially since the managers and production personel obviously achieved success of actions taken. Somewhere,  or someone has a memo, or documentation of this program. If several managers throughout the company operated on the same edict, then I would think they have cause.
    This is another example of the current Brunswick executives of mis-management with employees. How much more will the Board of Directors allow this kind of media attention without action to replace these executives.
    Did the Board of Directors ever actually vote on the Mercury decision to move from Stillwater, or was this only Mercury and Brunswick management. Either way, it doesn’t set well with employees of negative actions or the public who will view Brunswick in a negative light.

  6. Roadrunner

    The bonus they should have been offered was to keep their jobs. You shouldn’t have to give a “Manager” a bonus for doing what he should have been doing in the first place: what’s best for the company!

  7. great12live

    Good for Hegal. He was a good man that did alot for the company and I am glad he is standing up to them. I worked for another division and I hope it turns into a class action. There was questionable methods used there too.

  8. boatnick

    I am supprised that someone  made a agreement with Mercury Or Brunswick ,With out a contract, This is unheard of, And the magement,
    It self was screwing all the dealers, For 10% of our hard earned $$
    Ther ones that dont want the $ should be saved, The rest of you should get a reward . Then lets get on with business,
    Good Luck in your quest on trying to get that $$$.

  9. marinerepi

    While I was not part of this program I am a former senior Mercury manager that had several direct reports affected by the program and they all got screwed by Mercury and Brunswick.  The program was clear and concise and it was presented and published by the Mercury’s CFO.   Without a doubt it was a contract with some 100+  Mercury managers to go the extra mile and Mercury and Brunswick breached that agreement.  By now they probably let go more than half of those managers, but I am one that is more than happy to testify as to the program and subsequent breach, though I have no personal benefit.
    Kudos to Hegel for stepping up!

  10. imafdlman

    I was likely a victim of this incentive plan as most of the savings that these managers obtained came from firing staff.  What was the purpose of incenting these people to fire their co-workers?  Frankly, they were ordered to do it in the first place. 
    Maybe these manangers believe they deserve to get these bonuses based on savings from “lean” projects.  Well I gaurantee you if they had to prove the savings they claimed they will have come up short anyway.  While lean & six sigma is a very worthwhile savings methodology the way Mercury reports savings in many cases is a farce; everyone at Mercury knows it but somehow lying to themselves warrants bonus to the haves that is equal to the salarys of 2 – 3 of the have nots.

  11. mercury

    Newsflash to those who think the screwed managers were only doing their jobs- you may have no idea of the various overtime and other demands that senior management makes that go uncompensated – routinely- even in good economic times.
    They got these ’employee at will employees’ together, promised them something and then screwed them after they produced the requisite savings.
    I’m sure many worked even more uncompensated hours and possibly submerged even more personal ethics because of this incentive.
    Good for Hegal.

  12. hurt by it all

    I was one of the  bonuses victims(been with Brunswick for 9 years),and even though some too also lost their job I’m against their apperent greed in having us fired and then having the gall to bellyach about it.My old boss is still working for the company and if Skip wins then my old boss will be rewarded for a job well done.I don’t care if no one believes this statement but, I couldn’t have been a party to firing folks under me for a frecken bonus.I have found myself in a simular event at which I strongly disagreed with the program and it caused the program to be scrapped.I’m sure there is someone looking into this fire your employees for a bonus scheme,I know I am.I know Skip and even I believe that he is a forthright and honest man,even these kind of folks can get lead into a greedy situation,like I said,HE TOO was on someones list to get their bonus.

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