Can an employer deny an employee the annual bonus/terminate them based their personality?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer deny an employee the annual bonus/terminate them based their personality?

I am curious as to if there is any legal action that I could take with a current employer. I was informed that based on my personality I was not receiving an annual bonus, I was also informed that I was no longer a good fit for the team. One major reason being that the head of my team a man said that he felt as if he intimidated me by being a male. which the team is full of females, I am just the only one he does not speak to. I have been given 60 days based on this feedback. Is there any action I can take, since this has nothing to do with my work performance?

Asked on May 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

it really doesn't look like there is much that you can do here. That is unless this action violates the terms of a union agreement or employment contract, which you did not indicate. Additionlly, it must not constitute any form of legally actionable discrimination. For example your receiving lesser treatment due to your gender, which is a protected class. However, you state that you have other females on your team and your employer apparently gets along just fine with them. The fact is that being singled out due to your personality does not make for a valid legal claim. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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