In Ohio, can a employer take back a bonus after it has been paid to an employee after more than two months?

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In Ohio, can a employer take back a bonus after it has been paid to an employee after more than two months?

We are paid bonuses every six months after reaching
personal goals January-June. Some orders are now
coming in as cancels due to the company allowing future
orders to take place. Now, they are saying the bonus was
not reached in September. The bonus was paid early July.

Asked on September 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In some situations yes, but in most, no.
NO--CANNOT BE TAKEN BACK: 
1) There was no written set of goals or targets, but the employer decided to give you a bonus for doing what it considered a good job; it cannot later rethink whether that was  warranted or not. A bonus based on subjective criteria is final once given.
2) There were written targets or goals which you hit and the written bonus agreement did NOT state that the bonus could be reduced or taken back if there cancellations later. A written bonus agreement is a contract, and a company can only get a "refund" of a bonus if the terms of the bonus agreement itself permit it.
YES--CAN BE TAKEN BACK:
3) The terms of a written bonus agreement allow the bonus to be taken back in whole or in part in the event of cancelations; if the agreement/contract permits this, the employer may do it.


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