Micron

A glimpse of the Micron campus along South Federal Way in Boise, Monday, June 3, 2019.

BOISE — A current Micron Technology, Inc. employee has filed a class action lawsuit against the company over unpaid bonuses in 2018.

Senior fulfillment specialist Chris Manning alleges the company underpaid bonuses to him and all other employees in Boise due to a change in its performance review system, according to the lawsuit, which was first reported by the Idaho Statesman. Manning’s attorney, Eric Rossman, estimates the unpaid bonuses top $20 million.

Micron spokeswoman Erica Pompen said in an email that the company does not comment or speculate on pending litigation.

Rossman said he is still determining their official estimate for unpaid bonuses but plans to sue for roughly three times that amount in damages. He said in the next few months, a judge will determine if the case qualifies as a class action suit and set a trial date, expected to be in 2020.

According to court documents filed in Idaho Fourth District Court, Manning said the company always paid out bonuses based on performance ratings given to employees. Every year, each Micron employee is given a score of 1 to 5, and the score determines how much of a bonus is paid out each November. Manning said for years the company told managers to assign ratings solely based on performance and were not supposed to adhere to any quotas.

The suit alleges this changed in 2018 when Micron instituted a bell curve rating system, mandating in every department employees had to be rated across the entire spectrum. This meant no matter how well everyone on a team was performing, someone would be rated a 5 and someone would be rated a 1 or a 2. The suit alleges because many employees were rated lower than their actual performance, it caused thousands of employees to lose out on bonuses they were due.

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Manning said he was required by his superiors to rate his employees on the bell curve, or higher level management would “do it for (him).” Even though he could give employees positive comments on their evaluation and give them high marks in the subcategories, the overall rating assigned had to meet the quota. He was told 10% of those under his purview would have to receive a rating of 2.

“Leadership ‘will not accept anything less than 10 percent,’” read an excerpt from an email quoted in the court documents.

Manning said he was able to see the rating given to him by his supervisor, which initially was a 4 but then dropped to a 3. He said downgrading his rating due to the required quotas made him lose out on roughly $18,000 in bonuses he was due.

Earlier this month, the Idaho Press reported several past and present Micron employees’ descriptions of the same rating system, which they say was used to cut down the number of employees working at the company. Employees rated below a 3 were offered a severance package to leave Micron or the option to complete a performance improvement plan.

Manning’s lawsuit says Micron violated the Idaho Wage Claim Act by altering the rating system. The suit claims this change in how employees were rated, and thus paid their bonuses, was a “breach of contract” and a “breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” as well as fraud.

Margaret Carmel covers the city of Boise. Follow her on Twitter @mlcarmel or reach her by phone at 757-705-8066.

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