Can a company decrease an employee’s bonus/incentive pay due to things beyond the employees control?

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Can a company decrease an employee’s bonus/incentive pay due to things beyond the employees control?

I work in a call center and have been experiencing an extremely large amount of system errors for the last 4 months. I am unable to fully perform all if my duties due to these issues, yet I am still held to the same standards that everyone else is. Whenever these problems occur I must go into an aux for systems to reboot my computer. We receive performance based bonuses and it is calculated by productive hours. This means that every time I go into the systems aux, it will automatically make my bonus less. Also, there are other incintive bonuses that can not take advantage of due to these issu

Asked on March 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a company may reduce your bonus or incentive pay due to factors beyond your control, unless you happen to have an employment contract or bonus agreement to the contrary. Remember: companies do not have to provide bonuses or incentive pay at all--it is purely voluntary on their part to do this. Since it is voluntary, they are free to determine how they will award or calculate it--including holding employees responsible for factors beyond their control. For example, many employee bonus plans are based on overall company profits, which clearly the average worker has no control over.


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