subpoena for court

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subpoena for court

I was subpoena to testify at court, my employer states that it can deny me to pay
my bonus I am entitled to if I am not at work and attend the subpoena. I live in
MIchigan. Can an employer legally do this?

Asked on March 30, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Do you have a written employment contract the specifies the terms of your bonus payment? It is guaranteed under the terms of a union/collective bargaining agreement? If so, they you can file suit; if not then you have no recourse. This is true even though your absence is due to your being subpenoaed to appear in court. While the subpeona obligates you, is it not binding on your employer. Bottom line, a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination).

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you have a written bonus contract or agreement, they must pay it if and when, and in the amount, provided for in that agreement. If they don't, they would be in breach of contract and you could sue them. However, if you don't have a written bonus agreement--or if you do, but it by its plain terms gives them discretion (flexibility; makes the bonus subject to their judgment; etc.) over when and how much to pay--then they can do this. Except as guaranteed by the plain terms of a written contract, a bonus is at the employer's discretion, and they could choose to not bonsu you if you miss work for a court case; the subpoena does not obligate them to pay you any discretionary amounts.


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