Wachovia Securities announced in October 2008 that it was being purchased by Wells Fargo. Brokers…

Wachovia Securities announced in October 2008 that it was being purchased by Wells Fargo. Brokers were told that those who remained with the company after the sale would receive a “meaningful” retention bonus to be paid in January 2009. Although no precise figure was mentioned, brokers who remained with the firm assumed that Wachovia would follow industry practice and base the retention bonuses on the previous year’s commissions. If so, the bonuses would be in six-figures. Some of Wachovia’s brokers subsequently declined job offers with competitors. In January 2009, Wachovia announced that the bonuses would be delayed. In February 2009, they announced that the bonuses would not be paid at all. A number of the brokers sued. What should the court decide? Why?

 

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