Salesman says he was demoted after closing $66 million deal

Andrea Dearden Oct. 18, 2010, 3:44am

A former Belleville Shoe Manufacturing Co. employee says he was forced to quit his job after multiple bonuses went unpaid and he was demoted.

Robert D. Bentley Sr. accuses the Belleville business of multiple breaches of contract in a lawsuit filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Bentley says he went to work for Belleville Shoe in January 2000 as the director of military sales. According to the complaint, Bentley's employment contract specified his base salary and performance bonuses he would receive for specific levels of sales reached.

After making a $66 million sale, Bentley says Belleville Shoe unilaterally changed his contract, cutting his bonus in half. Bentley says he never agreed to the contract change, despite a clause in the contract that said it could not be altered without written agreement from both the employer and employee.

Bentley says Belleville Shoe eventually stopped paying him any bonuses and later demoted him without cause. He says the conditions forced him to be constructively discharged.

The former employee contends Belleville Shoe breached his employment contract multiple times. He says the company owes him past and future bonuses generated from his sales, past and future profit-sharing specified in his contract, and damages for severe emotional distress caused by the problems at work.

Attorneys Michael J. Brunton and Mary M. Stewart, of Collinsville, are representing Bentley. They demand a jury trial.

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