Provided by:  Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.

December 11, 2018


Hi Jennifer,

Can I bonus a few people on my staff, but not others? 

Thanks, Dr. L


Loaded question!  Not if you have specific policies that everyone is lock step and makes the same.  If you don't have that and everyone receives the same deal regardless, if you haven't specified you may arbitrarily select your favorites, or you have no established practice work ethic and you reward seemingly the laziest, you may have other individuals looking for retribution as a result of the unfairness of it all.  Whoa-ez-me! 

Let's say, hypothetically, you like a merit based structure, and on hiring you let people know at the end of the year you are going to give out discretionary bonus' or bonus' based on metrics you previously established and were met.  Either construct is completely legal.  What is not legal is paying bonuses to men only because you are afraid of women.  That will get you sued.  Looking to stay out of trouble definitively?  Set targets; hold all similarly situated employees to the same standards. 


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