Q. Our company is handing out bonuses only to those who deserve it. Can we ask them—not demand them—to keep it quiet as we hand them their checks? — Christopher, New York
A. Yes, although you want to avoid the impression that this is something you’re demanding. If you are the person handing out the checks, anything you say will appear to come from a position of power. If you are concerned about ill feelings, you might want to share a word or two on your reasons. For example, something like this may work: “Congratulations on earning a bonus this year! Only our top performers received a bonus, so you might want to be sensitive about sharing that information with co-workers.”
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