If an employer retains complete control over whether to pay a bonus and the amount of the bonus, then it can be excluded from an employee’s regular rate as a discretionary bonus. But both parts of this test count equally.
Recently, a federal trial court ruled that bonuses that always equaled $50 failed the second part of the test and had to be included in employees’ regular rates. Worse: The court allowed the case to proceed as a class action, and refused to dismiss California state law claims. (Provine v. Office Depot, Inc., No. C 11-00903 SI, N.D. Calif., 2012)
No applause for the Bravo program
Under a company’sprogram, managers recognized outstanding employees with “Bravo” cards, which went into a hopper. Every month a name was drawn and the winner received $50. An employee won twice, several months apart. For those two months, he worked 19 minutes of overtime.
The employee quit and sued in federal cou...(register to read more)