Can a company take back a bonus after it’s been given?

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Can a company take back a bonus after it’s been given?

My fiancee received a bonus in the amount of $200 from her job. The following week the company informed her and 9 others that they, the company, had made a mistake and would be taking the bonus back by deducting their following pay in the given amount. Is this legal? They asked her to sign a form to allow it and she wouldn’t. Can they still take it, because they say they are going to.

Asked on July 29, 2011 Ohio

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A bonus customarily in the business arena is additional compensation to an employee from the employer for extra effort beyond normal expectations of the employer. Once the bonus is paid it is given to the employee for his or her own use.

Once paid, the employee's position should be that it has been earned and paid and cannot be expected back unless the mistake is clear when the bonus was paid. This is not a situation where the $200 check was incorrectly issued as a $20,000 check.

If the $200 check is deducted in the following pay period, the employer should make a complaint against the employer with the labor department in your county.

Good luck.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A bonus customarily in the business arena is additional compensation to an employee from the employer for extra effort beyond normal expectations of the employer. Once the bonus is paid it is given to the employee for his or her own use.

Once paid, the employee's position should be that it has been earned and paid and cannot be expected back unless the mistake is clear when the bonus was paid. This is not a situation where the $200 check was incorrectly issued as a $20,000 check.

If the $200 check is deducted in the following pay period, the employer should make a complaint against the employer with the labor department in your county.

Good luck.


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