Bonus Payment Class Action
In California, as in other states, employers often promise a bonus to employees for the purposes of stimulating their productivity or having them otherwise perform in ways that benefit the employer. After you have been promised a bonus in California, the bonus can increase the rate that you earn for overtime because it is subject to wage and hour laws. In many cases, an employer's failure to pay a promised bonus or failure to pay overtime in accord with the employee's salary plus a bonus can give rise to litigation. If you wish to join a bonus payment class action, the experienced Los Angeles class action lawyers at the Nourmand Law Firm may be able to help you.Bonus Payment Class Actions
Bonuses are amounts paid on top of your regular salary and commission. While a commission is a percentage of sales, bonus pay is earned based on the fulfillment of various conditions. A California employer can establish which conditions must be met to earn a bonus. Some conditions could include sales targets, duration of employment, or goals for productivity. When an employee does not meet the condition, they will not earn the bonus, but if the condition is satisfied, they are entitled to receive the bonus, which is their property. As a result, a bonus conditioned on performance is supposed to be figured into a calculation of overtime.
For all non-exempt or hourly workers in California, any pay that is not discretionary, such as bonuses conditioned on performance, need to be figured into the rate to be paid for overtime. For example, if you get paid $1,000 each year for working specific unfavorable graveyard shifts, this amount should be factored into your hourly rate when your employer calculates how much overtime to pay you.
Unlike a bonus conditioned on some aspect of performance, discretionary bonuses are not the employee's property, and the employee is not entitled to recover the discretionary bonus. A bonus that is discretionary need not be included in calculations of overtime. The primary issue that has come up in some of these class actions is whether the fact that the payment is to be made and the amount of the payment are decided solely at the discretion of the employer instead of in accord with a prior agreement, contract, or promise.
If you were supposed to be paid a bonus conditioned on performance, and you met the conditions for the bonus, you may have a basis to sue. Similarly, if the bonus was not taken into account in the overtime pay that has been paid to you, you may also have a basis to sue. In most cases, the amount to be recovered in cases based on non-paid bonuses or failures to correctly calculate overtime is very small for each employee. However, in many cases, employers have treated many employees similarly in connection with their bonuses. Together, the employees can band together as plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit, and the anticipated recovery of multiple bonuses and unpaid overtime makes it feasible for an attorney to bring the case.
It is possible that the employer will argue that the bonus payment was discretionary and that this is why it was not factored into overtime. It may alternatively argue that your claims are barred, due to the amounts at issue being de minimis. However, in a case in which the amount of the payment was fixed and known in advance by all employees, it was found to not be discretionary. In that case, the de minimis defense was rejected because it did not apply to hourly employees in California.Consult a Class Action Attorney in the Los Angeles Area
If you are interested in bringing a bonus payment class action or an action based on unpaid commissions or other missing pay, the Nourmand Law Firm may be able to represent you. Our Los Angeles lawyers provide aggressive legal representation to workers who have been mistreated in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Palm Springs, Beverly Hills, Van Nuys, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, and other cities in San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange Counties. Call us at 800-700-WAGE (9243) or contact us through our online form.