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Pay Structure Rule Changes - Georgia

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  • Pay Structure Rule Changes - Georgia

    The VERY short version:

    At the end of November, my direct supervisor and I attended a meeting with the company’s owner to discuss some up coming changes. The owner then explained that the company is having financial troubles and a new “incentive” plan would be in effect Jan 1 2008. I was told that my hourly pay of $16 would be reduced to $15/hr. In addition, I would receive 1.5 times my normal rate ($22.50) for time billed to the customer. Also, there would no longer be any overtime paid. He then mentioned some more specific things about the new program that made absolutely no sense to me, it was very complex and I honestly did not understand it. I became very suspicious.

    Fast forward to January:

    I have demanded detailed documentation of this new program, as it has obviously evolved since its initial introduction in our individual meeting as well as the company meeting. He once again refused to provide documentation. Basically, he changes the rules on a daily basis to benefit himself and insure that the employees make less money.

    He has threatened my job several times over the last week and I’m honestly worried that he’s going to fire me. And for what? Requesting documentation on a compensation program that determines how much money I get paid? I honestly don’t even know what the rules are, as they change from day to day. Once I get my pay check, I have no way of knowing and verifying the amount they pay me is correct. This is just absurd.

    Is my current employer breaking any laws? If so what legal actions can I take against him? Any feedback on this matter would be greatly appreciated.


  • #2
    Questioning management about the pay practices ad nauseam is not going to endear you to management. The policy seems pretty clear to me.

    Whether the "no overtime" rule is legal or not in your particular situation depends on whether you are exempt or nonexempt, however, I'm assuming that since you said you were paid on an hourly basis, that you are nonexempt (not a "for certain", but a very logical assumption). As such, in any workweek in which you actually work more than 40 hours, you would be entitled to overtime. The employer may, though, refuse to let you work overtime.

    Having said that, though, the decrease was legal since you were informed about it ahead of time. If the company is going through financial difficulties, they could have just let you go. If you see this as a situation that may not improve in the foreseeable future, it may be time to dust off the resume and start looking for a position with a more financially stable company.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


    • #3
      Patty, thanks for the reply. I've been looking for different job for about a month now. Trust me, I'm leaving this place the first chance I get! Thanks again!


      • #4
        Agreed. There are a bunch of overtime exceptions. Most of them are based on job duties, but sometimes the nature of the employer's business makes a difference. For example an automobile mechanic who works at an auto dealer is not legally subject to the overtime premium while the exact same worker doing exactly the same job for a gas station is subject to the overtime premium. If you want to figure out your employer specific overtime requirements to you we need a lot more information on your specific job duties and the nature of your employer's business.

        But all of the other points Patty raised were equally valid. The employer does not have to allow employees to work overtime (or to not work overtime) and absent a contract or CBA, employers can normally legally change compensation packages on a go forward basis.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


        • #5
          DAW, I'm currently employed as a technician for a prominent technology firm in my area. My jobs responsibilities range between doing bench work at the retail location, talking to customers on the phone that call the shop, check in units, check out units, talk to customers that come into the store that have specific technical questions, perform on-site calls when needed, etc... Basically my personal billings equate to $10K+/m in labor alone, not including add on sales (which I have requested a commission for).

          My employer is making up rules and changes the rules depending on the situation. I was told the following last week:

          1. I can never get paid for more hours then I’m clocked in (i.e. if I work 8 hours per day and bill 10 hours per day, I will only receive the “incentive” pay for 8 hours. Not 8 hours (clock in time) @ $15/hr + 10 hours (incentive billable time) @ $22.50/hr as it was originally explained. This was never mentioned in any of the meetings.

          2. I must specify what I do for my non-billable time. The examples he gave were training, cleaning, moving a vehicle, taking out the trash, etc... Is he serious? I have to account for every minute of my day now? This was never mentioned in the meetings.

          3. My billing efficiency must be at least 75%. Even though I’m distracted 100 times per day, assigned to do things that are not considered billable (even though they are billed to the customer), and I do not receive parts in a timely manner to complete some service orders quickly. This was never mentioned in the meetings.

          4. If I can’t maintain at least a 75% billing efficiently in according to his “incentive” program, then my hours will be severely cut. This was never mentioned in the meetings.

          I'm a 24 year old college student that made a little over $20K last year. My employer is bullying me and making my life miserable because he thinks he can get away with it. He is trying to make me quit so I do not receive unemployment. At this point, I'm frustrated and not sure what I should do. My employer is looking for any excuse to fire me. I'm worried that questioning him on his new "incentive" program and declining to participate in it will get me fired. Even though during out first meeting he said that I did not have to participate, he has now changed to just not participating for this pay period.

          Sorry for the long post, any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!


          • #6
            It sounds like a nonexempt position to me, but my opinion and $2 won't get you a cup of coffee at Starbuck's.

            Making that assumption, let's look at the legality (not the fairness or the communication method or style) of each issue separately:

            1. You only have to be paid for hours that you actually work. If you are getting paid a higher rate when you are billable than when you aren't, that's perfectly legal. However, I don't understand how you can bill for more hours in a day than you work in a day, unless billable hours are a function of the task done, and not how long it took you to do it. "Clocked in" hours are really irrelevant. It's the number of hours actually worked that is relevant.

            2. Accounting for every minute of the day is perfectly legal.

            3. If you aren't getting the supplies you need to work efficiently, then that's something you will have to take up with your manager. It's not a legal issue.

            4. Legal, as well.

            Although these requirements may not have been "mentioned in the meetings", you know about them now and that's what matters.

            I'm worried that questioning him on his new "incentive" program and declining to participate in it will get me fired.
            It certainly could.

            "Participate" in what? The pay structure is the pay structure. I don't mean this to sound as harsh as it might, but if you can't live with it, you are within your rights to quit.
            Last edited by Pattymd; 01-13-2008, 08:42 AM.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


            • #7
              Patty and DAW thanks for the replies. Like I stated above, I'm out of that place the first chance I get! Thanks again!


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