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Answer these 3 questions to avoid discrimination accusations when paying bonuses

by , 25 February 2016
As an employer, you may wish to reward your employees for their hard work. But at the same time you don't exactly want to go promising them something that may not happen if, say, your company doesn't perform in a given year.

That's why you can introduce bonus systems such as discretionary or performance bonuses, instead of a fixed bonus.

That's all good and well, right?

Well, in all honesty, you're not quite off the hook just yet, because complications can arise too out of these bonuses based on an unfortunately common word in the workplace, namely 'discrimination'.

To put it short, whatever you do, DON'T discriminate when you pay bonuses! Because if you do, you'll end up in trouble at the CCMA, with the result being a hefty compensation and a dented reputation in the business world.

So then, in order to avoid discriminating when paying out bonuses, always ask yourself the following 3 questions...


Do you have a paper-shuffler working for you?

You know that person…

·         Always busy but never meets deadlines…
·         Always making excuses for why he doesn't meet company targets…
·         He doesn't meet his KPI's…
·         And he's constantly making costly mistakes…

The next logical step is to get rid of him and get someone who can do the job. But watch out, that could cost you BIG at the CCMA!

So what can you LEGALLY do?


Did you pay employees bonuses and others not?


If the answer is 'yes', then what was your reason for this decision?


If you believe that you can provide reasons for your decision, you'll then need to honestly ask yourself whether those reasons are truly justifiable.

In other words, you must make sure:

·         The decision ISN'T, in any way, connected to race, age, gender, marital status, or any other discriminatory ground for that matter; and

·         Your decision is objective. For example, if it's based on 'non-performance', then you should be able to provide supporting documentation, as well as the evidence that you operate a performance-based bonus system, as well as clear evidence of what your performance targets are to qualify for a performance bonus.
*Do you want to learn more? Then page over to chapter B 02 in your Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

Don't have this resource? No problem!

Simply click here to get your hands on it today. 

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