I signed a retention bonus with my company in Feb 2016. The terms paid 2 installments of bonuses to be paid once a year. However, if I resign before Feb 2018, I have to pay both installments back. The next installment is due to be paid to me in Feb 2017. I am not interested in staying with the new company until FEb 2018. Am I still legally bound to the terms of this agreement? I am secretly hoping that they do not pay my second installment and can leave after Feb 2017 with no repercussions as the agreement I signed is not with the new company. They are having me sign new employment agreements. do I need to sign a new retention bonus for the terms to be valid?

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    Normally all contracts of the old company would be passed to the new company. You shouldn't have to sign a new contract. If you don't sign the new contract, they have the choice of firing you (which you seem to be Ok with) or keeping you on with the old contract. – gnasher729 Dec 10 '16 at 13:59

Believe it or not there are lawyers who specialize in employment issues. It will be worth the fee to get one to read your contract and interpret it for you. And - you can start by asking what the fee is; even a lawyer won't charge you a fee to tell you what his fee is.

Don't expect good news, though. The acquiring company has probably bought your obligation, and is carrying your Feb 2017 bonus as an acquired liability.

It is not surprising that you are not interested in staying with the new company. Retention bonuses are generally offered only for odious and unpleasant jobs, or to compensate the employee for delayed career advancement.

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    Also, don't sign new employment agreements until you have consulted your lawyer. If you decide not to consult a lawyer, don't sign new employment agreements at all. – A. I. Breveleri Dec 10 '16 at 15:09

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