Can my general manger withhold my bonus check?

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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

Unlike wages, bonuses are provided at the discretion of an employer. Accordingly it has a great deal of say over when and if a bonus has been earned or is payable. Accordigly, the question to be answered is, what are the terms of the bonus? For example, an employer may list certain criteria in order for the bonus to be earned but then note that payment is at its discretion. If that is the case in your situation, then your company can excercise such discretion to not grant payment, even if that seems unfair. Your only other protection here is if the terms of an employment contract or union agreement mandate that under the circumstances, your bonus is required to be paid. Otherwise, a business can typically set the conditions of work much as it sees fit, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination.

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unlike wages, bonuses are provided at the discretion of an employer. Accordingly it has a great deal of say over when and if a bonus has been earned or is payable. Accordigly, the question to be answered is, what are the terms of the bonus? For example, an employer may list certain criteria in order for the bonus to be earned but then note that payment is at its discretion. If that is the case in your situation, then your company can excercise such discretion to not grant payment, even if that seems unfair. Your only other protection here is if the terms of an employment contract or union agreement mandate that under the circumstances, your bonus is required to be paid. Otherwise, a business can typically set the conditions of work much as it sees fit, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination.


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