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Should I seek legal action? Hawaii

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  • Should I seek legal action? Hawaii

    Hey everyone!

    I am currently employed at a country wide (USA) retail chain. I recently changed job titles in the last few months. According to my managers my new position still earns me additional "spiffs" ($ kickbacks) on selling certain types of services that we offer to customers. When I received my first paycheck in this new job title I noticed that my "spiffs" area was $0.00, even though I sold well over my quota of qualifying services.

    After investigating the matter the company tells me that I am "coded incorrectly" in the system to receive payment. It's been 4 weeks now and they keep telling me that the are "looking into" the situation and cannot say whether or not I will even get this backed pay.

    I should also note that the other 5 employees in my location have also not been paid these spiffs since September, when they "changed" our pay code without informing us. I know that in Hawaii this is illegal and they should have informed us via written notice or an official posting.

    Should I consult a lawyer at this point?
    Last edited by mdyaf; 03-10-2007, 08:15 PM.

  • #2
    First of all, it isn't illegal. Mistakes get made. They can be fixed. It doesn't mean the law is being broken. Follow up if need be.

    Unless you have a bonafide contract, your employer may pay you as they feel is appropriate. If you have a true contract and your employer is violating it, and won't correct the problem, then yes, a lawyer is a good idea.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
      First of all, it isn't illegal. Mistakes get made. They can be fixed. It doesn't mean the law is being broken. Follow up if need be.

      Unless you have a bonafide contract, your employer may pay you as they feel is appropriate. If you have a true contract and your employer is violating it, and won't correct the problem, then yes, a lawyer is a good idea.
      Perhaps I did not explain correctly. Under our company's Incentive program all retail/business salespeople earn the spiffs mentioned in my original post. Due to a change in company payment policy on these spiffs for my particular job title (slightly different classification), they took away the ability to earn these spiffs on the corporate payroll level, but without informing us as employees. Also, the managers on our store level continued to push us to sell more services with the reason being that we will earn more money from these "spiffs", even though the company had discontinued payment on them to us since september 2006.

      After bringing this to the attention of my store-level manager, he contacted corporate who informed him of the pay code change, which HE didn't even get notified of. Since then it has been an attempt by him to get us backpayed on since the employees, nor the managers, of our store were ever informed of a payroll change (which is against Hawaii Labor Laws).

      This happened a month ago now. And our managers in the store keep hearing a "No" from corporate.

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      • #4
        I'm not a payroll expert but I read through the regulations on pay for Hawaii and found nothing that prohibits an employer from reducing your pay, or requiring notice. It is also questionable whether the spiffs count as "wages" under the law. To be certain, it would be best to contact your state DOL. If your company violated the law, you would file your complaint with the DOL.

        http://hawaii.gov/labor/wsd/pdf/libr...d_hour_law.pdf
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          Any changes in pay arrangements, and of any policies with regard to vacation, sick, or holiday pay must be made in writing or through a posted notice prior to the change.
          Copied right off the latest version of the Hawaii Labor Law poster that's hanging outside our break room.

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          • #6
            Then do what Elle suggested and make a complaint through the state DOL.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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