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Exempt commission-only Salesperson in WA - Meetings mandatory? Washington

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  • Exempt commission-only Salesperson in WA - Meetings mandatory? Washington

    Hello - I work out of WA state, but my employer is based in CA. Up until recently, I was paid under a Base + Commission compensation structure. At the end of 2009, they switched us to Commission-only, whereas the only wages we earn are a direct result of our sales.

    Question: We are "required" to be a part of at least one (usually more) conference call meeting and/or training 'webinar' per week, and we are not compensated for them. Since we are 'exempt' employees, are we required to be a part of the meetings without pay? These meetings take up hours where we could be out doing our primary job (selling), but instead we are chained to our phones on conference calls.

    Any advice would be very much appreciated.

  • #2
    I am including a pointer to the factsheet for Outside Sales. Take a look at it. If you otherwise qualify for Outside Sales, then what you say will not unqualify you. If you otherwise qualify for Outside Sales, then these hours do not have to be separately paid for.

    Any employer can require pretty much any employee to work pretty much any hours that the employee wants. The only real issue is how those hours must be paid.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Thank you! I took a look at your link, and my job definitely qualifies as an exempt 'Outside Salesperson'. I do in-home Design/Sales and I work out of my home office.

      I'm still unclear, though, as to how I am supposed to be compensated for time spent in meetings. Per the link you sent, my home office would be considered one of my employers' "places of business" - therefore, let's say that in a given week, I get no appointments from my employer (appointments are set at our corporate office, but can be sporadic - one week, I may have 10 appts, and the next week I may not have any). Theoretically, I am not being paid at all that week due to lack of work. However, I am still required to attend meetings. How can my employer justify making the meeting 'mandatory', yet say that our "commissions include time spent in meetings"?

      Any additional advice would be appreciated, thanks!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by CT18 View Post
        I'm still unclear, though, as to how I am supposed to be compensated for time spent in meetings. Per the link you sent, my home office would be considered one of my employers' "places of business" - therefore, let's say that in a given week, I get no appointments from my employer (appointments are set at our corporate office, but can be sporadic - one week, I may have 10 appts, and the next week I may not have any). Theoretically, I am not being paid at all that week due to lack of work. However, I am still required to attend meetings. How can my employer justify making the meeting 'mandatory', yet say that our "commissions include time spent in meetings"?

        Any additional advice would be appreciated, thanks!
        They don't have to. Outside salespersons don't have to be paid anything but their commissions.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          Agreed. This is one of those arguably unfair but true points. Employers can legally make the Outside Sales person do tasks as long as the aggregate effect of the task does not otherwise cause the qualification rules to fail. I have worked for companies that legally had Outside Sales people spend one full day a week in the office, basically getting their paperwork current, then doing phone work or meetings the rest of the time.

          The weak spot of Outside Sales is always the duties test. Employers tend to overclassify this exception. But if the classification is done correctly, and the employer is careful to not violate the 50% qualified time rule, then the employee is legally ****ed. It is perfectly legal for an Outside Sales person to work the entire year without any pay of any kind as long as the pay is commission based and the sales did not occur.

          Outside Sales is the only legal 100% commission exception that entirely ignores hours worked. Pretty much all other employees have some level of certain pay if they work.
          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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