Incentivized Bonus Payments Do Not Constitute Wages Under Indiana Law

In a case involving the determination of work bonuses being paid as “wages” under Indiana law, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that in circumstances where the bonuses are not related to the amount of time an employee works, are not guaranteed to be paid regularly, and are not granted based on the employer’s financial success, the bonuses do not fall under the wage classification for purposes of Indiana statutes.

While Orlando Quezare was employed as a collections account representative for Byrider Finance, Inc., his employment agreement called for bonus payments if certain percentages were met, each week, regarding the amount of delinquency on his accounts and also if his team of account reps met certain goals.  After he was terminated, Quezare sued Byrider, alleging that the company violated Indiana law by failing to make wage payments within ten business days of the pay period ending date.  Bose McKinney & Evans attorneys Gregory Guevara and Emily Yates argued successfully that the bonus payments did not constitute wages under the statute.

In the opinion of Quezare v. Byrider Finance, Inc., the Court of Appeals held that, in order for bonus payments to be considered wages under Indiana law, the payments must be directly related to the amount of time an employee works, must be paid to the employee with regularity, and cannot be tied to the financial success of the employer.  Because Quezare’s bonuses were tied only to his individual success, were never guaranteed, and also because Indiana case law doesn’t consider team bonuses to be wages, Byrider was not in violation of Indiana law.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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