Can my general manger withhold my bonus check?

My general manger is mad at me because I called off. She told an employee that she is going to give my bonus check back to HR out spite. When she already gave all the other mangers their bonus checks. Can she do that?

Asked on January 5, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Are the terms of the bonus covered under company policy or an employment/union agreement? If so, then they will control. If not, then the bonus is payable at the discretion of your employer. The bottom line is, was your bonus guaranteed or discretionary?

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) Is the bonus guaranteed by a written agreement, such as based on a set of financial targets which you met? If it is guaranteed by written agreement (contract), they have to pay it to you as per the agreement.
2) However, if it's not a guaranteed bonus but rather was discretionary (the employer can decide whether to pay you a bonus and how much), then if the check was not yet given to you, they can decide to withhold it--until the check is in your hand (or direct deposit in your account), there is no guaranty or right to a discretionary bonus.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.