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Is Your Company's Bonus Structure Fair?

Income inequality made headlines in a big way after the hack at Sony revealing that everyone from CEOs to Oscar-winning actresses made less than their male counterparts. But at your workplace, such an enlightening breach is unlikely. What's more, many companies have confidentiality agreements that prohibit employees from discussing things like pay.

A recent study found that more companies are devoting part of the bottom line toward bonuses and other kind of variable pay-for-performance structures. So how can you make sure that the bonus structure at your workplace is equitable and not discriminatory?

  • Is it clear? The guidelines should either be written down and provide clear objectives for each eligible worker to achieve or the bonus should be equality distributed among all workers based on company performance. Eligibility should not be subjective.
  • Is there a pattern? If only a certain population of the workforce is being rewarded, there's a problem. A performance-based bonus should be distributed evenly and not only among a certain age, sex, or gender of employees.
  • Is there transparency? Is there a way to see how the bonuses were distributed among workers anonymously? Is your company transparent about the reward process?
  • Is there a process for appeal? If you think the bonus structure is unfair or discriminatory, is there a way to have it reviewed? If there is no way to address inequality or no one willing to discuss it, you may need to go higher up in the chain. Talk to HR or your EAP about the results of the bonus program and the problems that you see. If no one is responsive, you may need to look outside the company for assistance in addressing the issue.

If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.

Our attorneys have more than 40 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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