A retail chain my friend worked for wanted to boost sales of a membership that included benefits like free shipping and preferred pricing. They gave each employee a small bonus on 1 paycheck equal to the price of the membership and employees were told the bonus was to be used to buy a membership for themselves. Apparently, they believed it would help employees sell the membership if they experienced the benefits themselves.
From the company's perspective, sales of the membership at POS were an important metric for the company; there were long-term company goals for membership sales. Presumably they gave employees money for the membership instead of the membership itself so they could transact more sales and claim to be closer to hitting their total sales goal.
Was it legal for the company to make this additional payment while requiring it be used to buy their own service?