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Drunken £15m bonus promise 'nonsense', says Sports Direct boss
14 Jul 2017

What if your employee claimed that you'd promised them a hefty bonus for reaching a key target - and you did no such thing? 

Well, you could end up embroiled in a 'my word against yours' row which ends up in the High Court. Just like Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley.

FBC Manby Bowdler employment law expert, Julia Fitzsimmons, says the ongoing case is a warning to employers to make sure all employment offers and bonuses are written in clear terms with all parts of the offer in one document.

Last week saw the billionaire Newcastle United owner rejecting a claim that he had agreed to pay an investment banker £15m if he increased Sports Direct share price to £8 each. Banker Jeffrey Blue is suing Mr Ashley, claiming he was only paid £1m of the £15m promised to him during a drinking session in a pub.

Julia said: "Mike Ashley's witness statement says that he'd had a lot to drink and couldn't remember much of their conversation, but added that he found it incredible that anyone would think he had made a binding agreement.

"This case is ongoing and will be an expensive argument to have, now more than four years after the conversation took place in a London pub.

"That's why employers should be making sure that all terms and conditions of employment and bonuses are written down from the start - it will be costly to argue it afterwards as inevitably there will have to be a decision or ruling one way or the other.

"It's also important that employers include important post termination restrictions and confidentiality agreements from the start of the relationship as well."

Julia is also part of FBC Manby Bowdler's Progressive HR team which helps businesses across Shropshire and the Midlands access expert advice on staffing, employment law and HR all in one place.

For a limited time, FBC Manby Bowdler is offering a no-charge review of your bonus clause/agreements. Please contact for details.

Meet Julia Fitzsimmons