Just a quick question which you may or may not know the answer to. I have a straight commission inside furniture sales job. My employer allows the sales associates to give up to a 10% discount in order to close sales; however, they give the sales managers up to a 20% discount. If I am not able to close a sale I must turn over the customer to a sales manager in an attempt to close it, and if the sales manager gives the customer a discount higher than my 10% then they get half the sale. As you can well imagine, virtually every single time you give a sales manager a customer they ALWAYS give a higher discount simply to get half the sale.
As such, is it legal for an employer to empower sales managers with an extra discount by which to force the sales associates to feed business the sales managers?
Amusingly enough, the company sells this program by stating that “it’s better to get half of something rather than all of nothing.” While the sales associates would claim that it simply isn’t fair to have to give away half of a sale to a sales manager simply because the manager is allowed to give a higher discount. After all, with the same powers of discounting we could close the sale ourselves and keep 100% of the commission.
Obviously, no straight commission sales associate would want to have to keep splitting sales simply because a manager is authorized to do little more than give a higher discount than another.
In any event, please advise if you believe it is legal for a company to force its sales associates to split sales with a manager simply because the manager is authorized to do little more than give a greater discount?
Fit Small Business can’t provide legal advice so you may want to talk to a labor law attorney if you have concerns. As an HR professional, I can’t see any law being broken here. It appears your employer is trying not to give away 20%, and wants its sales associates to sell the product at full price or 10% off, based on how they’ve set up their incentives. Or course, once customers find out they can skip you and go right to your manager for a better discount, they will. While that doesn’t seem fair exactly, you’re still getting 50% of the commission. Your choices as in any job, are to work hard and move up to manager, settle for the existing structure (as long as they’re paying minimum wage or equivalent they’re abiding by labor laws), or find a new job. Best of luck to you.
Laura, HR, SPHR, MAEd
p.s. Christy has moved up in the company!
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