Is it legal for my employer to change commision structure without telling sales people?

I worked as a car salesman at a local dealer for 9 years. Over the last 3 years i noticed my commisions were going down. I was told by an office employee that our "pack" was raised, when i asked for a copy of our commision structure i was told i would get one but never did. I left this dealership recently for a new opportunity and have been thinking this is not right. Im sure i signed employment/pay paperwork 9 years ago but was presented nothing new since then. I can understand if i was giving our new plan in writing but the secrecy does not seem right. I suspect that they raised our pack by $200-$500 per car. If an employer changes pay that is there right, but dont they have to tell there employees?

1 answer  |  asked Mar 25, 2010 8:29 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
Good question. An at-will employer can end your employment or change the terms and conditions whenever it wants. However, if your employer changes the terms and conditions of your employment you have the option of accepting the change or ending the employment. Thus, if your employer hires you at $12.00 an hour, it can reduce your pay the next day to $8.00 an hour. However, you have the right to refuse to work at that rate. If the employer "secretly" changes the terms of the employment agreement by reducing the hourly rate, you did not agree to the change. The result, I believe, is that the employer must pay the compensation to which you agreed.

If the total of unpaid commissions is less than $3,000 (assuming you are in Ohio), you should take your case to small claims court. The key has more to do with you not agreeing to the reduction than it does with the employer's ability to make the reduction or its sneakiness in not disclosing it to you. If the unpaid commissions are more than $3K and others are similarly affected, call me to discuss this further.

Best regards,

Neil Klingshirn.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Mar 27, 2010 08:59 AM [EST]

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