45% pay cut and reverse discrimination

My husband is a sales executive for a fairly large company. He has been paid a salary + commission for 4 years. Friday he was told because of a negative canvass of 2% he will no longer receive a salary. His salary is 45% of his total wages. In $ amounts: his canvas was $5,000 less than they wanted it to be. (This does not mean the company lost money they just didn't make as much as they wanted) The salary they are taking because of this loss is $32,000. He's trying to appeal to the people in power to reinstate the salary but hasn't heard back. I know a company can change pay at will, but if he continues to work until he finds out if they will reinstate the salary does that mean he agrees to the cut? He refused to sign the salary notice. Also,is it legal for a company to withhold commissions because the customer is behind on their payments? Lastly, is there such a thing as reverse discrimination? Too many details to put in here, but the company seems to cut pay and demote positions only to men. Thank-you

1 answer  |  asked Apr 7, 2009 12:16 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
Pay cuts and commission withholding

You are correct; an employer can change pay at any time. The employer must honor the pay rate in place before the change but, once it notifies the employee of the change, the employee will is entitled only to the changed/reduced compensation. The fact that your husband appealed the pay cut will almost certainly not defer the cut.

Whether or not the employer can withhold commissions until the customer pays depends on the commission payment plan. If the issue is not addressed in a written plan, then a court would look at past practice to see if the employer consistently withheld commissions under similar circumstances. If so, it would probably find that the employer is able to do so in your husband's case as well.

Finally, courts today do not look at female discrimination of males as "reverse" discrimination. Rather, they see it as pure gender discrimination. That is, if an employer is treating members of one gender better than another with respect to tangible job benefits and compensation, they have engaged in unlawful discrimination.

Best regards,

Neil Klingshirn

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Apr 7, 2009 5:46 PM [EST]

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