Under the right circumstances, employers that pay discretionary bonuses based on actual performance don’t have to make the extra payments to employees on. Thus, a discretionary bonus based on performance during each quarter may not have to be paid if the employee didn’t work.
Recent case: Laura Makowski, who worked for a law firm’s marketing department, missed the last quarter of the year because she was pregnant and then gave birth. Ordinarily, she would have earned a quarterly bonus based on performance during that quarter.
She sued when she didn’t receive the bonus and argued she was eligible despite takingleave.
The court disagreed after dissecting the law firm’s bonus program. It determined that she performed no work meriting the bonus during the relevant quarter. (Makowski v. SmithAmundsen, No. 08-CV-6912, ND IL, 2010)
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- Place employee on 'provisional' FMLA leave while seeking 2nd, 3rd certifications
- When showing up for work is essential, you don't have to accommodate with lax schedule
- Base reinstatement on job held at time leave began
- You could personally pay for FMLA violations
- Pregnant employees: Where can you draw the line?