Is my boss allowed to take out of my next check a bonus from months ago because a client is getting a refund?

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Is my boss allowed to take out of my next check a bonus from months ago because a client is getting a refund?

I work at a collection agency where I get paid hourly and also every month I’m given what my boss calls a discretionary bonus which is actually a percentage after I hit my quota of what I brought in that month. Are they allowed to take back a bonus I received months ago because they had to issue our client a refund? I did nothing wrong and I’m just being told by them that if they have to give a refund then they are going to take the bonus I received out of my next check. Can they do this if did nothing wrong? They are just trying to put some of the burden onto me.

Asked on February 16, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If a bonus is discretionary, then even if it's critical to or a large part of your income, the employer can still choose to not give it or to reduce it for any reason whatsoever--that's what "discretionary" means: that it is at the discretion of the employer. So they can choose to reduce your next discretionary bonus(es) to make up for a refund given to a client, to in effect "take back" or offset a prior discretionary bonus. 


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