Sears is catching heat for dedicating over $25 million to exec bonuses while reportedly cutting off severance for laid-off store workers

  • Sears is enticing top executives to stick around by touting $25.3 million in potential bonuses, according to the Chicago Tribune.
  • Meanwhile, laid-off Sears store employees told Vox they had stopped receiving severance checks a few weeks after the retailer filed for bankruptcy in October.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders and other commenters took to social media to blast this discrepancy.

Sears has got people fuming over the fact that top executives stand to pick up major bonuses while laid-off Kmart and Sears store employees have seen their severance pay nixed.

Last week, a bankruptcy court gave the company the go-ahead to set aside $25.3 million in bonuses for top executives, according the Chicago Tribune. The retailer argued that it required the money in order to get these execs to stick around.

RELATED: Check out every retailer that filed for bankruptcy in 2018: 

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Every retailer who filed for bankruptcy in 2018
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Every retailer who filed for bankruptcy in 2018

A'gaci

Women's apparel and accessories retailer A'Gaci filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January. 

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Kiko USA

Cosmetics retailer Kiko USA Inc filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January.

Photo credit: Getty

Tops Markets

Tops Markets operates 174 supermarkets — called Tops Friendly Markets. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in February.

Photo credit: Getty

The Bon-Ton Stores

The Bon-Ton Stores owns multiple department store chains including Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's, and Younkers. The company filed for bankruptcy in February.

Photo credit: Getty

Remington Outdoor

Remington filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.

Photo credit: Getty

The Walking Company

The shoe seller The Walking Company, which operates 208 stores in the US, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.

Photo credit: Getty

Claire's

The jewelry chain Claire's filed for bankruptcy in March.

Photo credit: Getty

Southeastern Grocers

Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of the grocery chains Winn-Dixie, Harveys and Bi-Lo, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.

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Nine West

Nine West Holdings filed for bankruptcy in April.

Photo credit: Getty

Bertucci's

Italian casual-dining chain Bertucci's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April.

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Rockport

The footwear brand filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May.

Photo credit: Getty

National Stores

The owner of the Fallas chain of discount stores filed for bankruptcy in August.

Photo credit: Facebook

Brookstone

Brookstone filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August.

Photo credit: Getty

Samuels Jewelers

Samuels Jewelers filed for Chapter 11 with an agreement for bankruptcy financing in August.

Photo credit: Facebook

Toys R Us

Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy in September.

Photo credit: Getty

Mattress Firm

Mattress Firm filed for bankruptcy in October.

Photo credit: PA

Sears

Sears filed for bankruptcy in October.

Photo credit: PA

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The Chicago Tribune reported that 19 executives will receive bonuses from a pool of $8.4 million if they help the company hit its goals for next six months, while 315 senior employees could draw from a pool of $16.9 million.

Meanwhile, laid-off Sears store employees have reported that they stopped receiving severance checks after the company filed for bankruptcy.

Sears and Kmart store employees posted a letter to the company on Rise Up Retail's website, demanding that the retailer "guarantee severance pay and create a hardship fund for thousands of laid off Sears and Kmart employees to help our families get back on our feet."

"It has been devastating," laid-off Kmart employee Sheila Brewer told Vox. Brewer said she received severance for two weeks before the money stopped coming. "In addition to losing my job and having anxiety about who is going to hire me, since I haven't had a job interview in almost 20 years, I am counting on this money. I'm already behind on my rent, and I am the sole provider for my family."

A representative for Sears did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Sen. Bernie Sanders took to Twitter to denounce Sears, calling the move indicative of a "rigged economy."

Read more: Sears' and Kmart's sales increased for the first time in years — but it's probably not going to save the business

But Sanders, who recently took on both Amazon and Walmart over worker wages, wasn't the only one with something to say. Plenty of other Twitter users chimed in with their own criticisms of Sears.  

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