Can my employer deduct money from my bonus for being late?

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Can my employer deduct money from my bonus for being late?

I was late 30 minutes and when I got there my manager said that she was going to charge me $10 for being late and that she would deduct it from my bonus. Is that legal?

Asked on November 29, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A bonus is not something required to be paid under law; it is something that an employer voluntarily chooses to pay.  In other words, it is an entirely discretionary benefit (similar to PTO). Since it's not required under law, an employer can set terms and conditions for paying it. Additionally, the courts have consistently held that additional payments (above and beyond normal wages), only have to paid when work is actually done that meets an employer's criteria. Therefore, there is no need to pay a bonus, for example, if an employees performance does not meet an employer's expectations.  While it may not seem fair it is legal.  Unless the terms of your employment provide otherwise - an employment/union contract or company policy) making such a deduction is perfectly legal. 

Note:  If you think that this treatment stems from some type of discrimination, then that would be actionable. 


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