Can bonuses paid be taken back?

I work for a clinic. My boss pays me a small salary every 2 weeks. He pays me monthly bonuses based on the amount of patient referrals that I get that month given that the bills for treatment reach at least $1800. The problem is he wants to go back this year and take back bonuses from me if the case was

never settled and the case was dropped. I don’t think this is legal. I never got into a contract that said I can only get my bonus if the case settles. The verbal agreement was that once the patient reached $1800 I could receive a bonus.

Asked on March 4, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you were already paid the bonus, he can't "take back" the money--you can't be made to repay it--unless you had a written employment agrement of some sort stating that under these circumstances, you'd have to refund or repay part of your bonus.
On the other hand, without a written contract, he can change your compensation structure or amount going forward at will. So say he feels you were "overpaid" by $2,000 because some cases were never settled; he could simply reduce what you are paid in the future by $2,000 (or more, if he chooses), until he saves whatever amount of money he feels is warranted. The problem is, without an employment contract, you have no guaranty of your job or the amount will be paid.

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