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Commisioned Sales Person "Fined" $1000 by employer. Texas

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  • Commisioned Sales Person "Fined" $1000 by employer. Texas

    I am a finance manager at a auto dealership. I do not recieve a salery or hourly income. My income is a percentage of the amount of profit I earn by selling extended warrantys, life insurance, GAP insurance, etc.

    My employer has fined me $1000 for violating company policy. I had a customer who wanted to sign automobile purchase paperwork for his wife since she was bed ridden and ill. I told him that I could not allow him to do that but he could bring the paperwork back signed. He did bring the paperwork back and it was signed. I had a feeling that he had signed for his wife, however, I did not press the issue.

    Later the same customer openly admitted that he signed the documents for his wife. Because I did not compare the signature of his wife against her drivers license, my employer told me I could either pay them a $1000 fine for or loose my job.

    I have a wife and kids and need my job. I told them I would pay the fine, and they subtracted it from my commisions at the end of that month. I also signed a form that said if I did it again could and probably would fire me.

    Is it legal for an employer to fine me? Can they make me pay them money for something I did that violates their policy if it's not "safety related" (like driving a forklift in a dangerous way)?

  • #2
    Fine??

    Your employer may not withhold (deduct) from your pay absent a law, regulation, or written consent. Your employer may say that if you do not pay them a $1,000 "fine", you will be fired. Your choice. So long as you are paid the full wages to which you are entitled, the Texas Payday Law is satisfied. The question of extortion remains.

    I see you have posted a couple of problems. Maybe you ought to ply your trade elsewhere, and refuse to pay the "fine".

    Comment


    • #3
      Plying my trade elseware.

      The "Notice of Concern" that I signed says:

      On (date) Mr. (customer) came in to sign a member agreement and stated that he would sign for his wife. This constitutes forgery. Previously, (me) , F&I manager had allowed Mr. (customer) to take the paperwork outside his office for his wife's signature. The wife's signature does not match her actual signature and was therefore forged. It is the F&I managers responsibility to secure all siganatures and funding.

      The (dealership) employee manual rules of conduct state any deliberate, false, deceptive, or misleading representation and poor or careless work are subject to discipline and, under certain circumstances, discharge.

      (me) will be fined $1000 for this occurance and the next policy violation will puty his management position with (dealership) in jeopardy

      __X_ I agree

      _____ I disagree


      ____________
      My signature


      So, since I signed it, I have no recourse? There is nothing that can be "undone"?

      Yes, I have thought about leaving. But this location is so close to my home and the pay plan is better than others I have had. I've been here for two years and dont want to start all over somewhere else.
      Last edited by Unchained; 09-15-2008, 12:49 PM. Reason: typo

      Comment


      • #4
        Show the agreement to an attorney in your state and see if it is enforceable under your state's contract laws.
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          Not the question, but it is not legally possible to pay someone who is not Outside Sales on a 100% commission basis. It is extremely likely that the OP is subject to minimum wage laws. I am in agreement with showing the contract to a local attorney, but it is not legally possible for a contract to make Labor Law rules such as minimum wage go away. It is possible that the employer could claim that the employee is Exempt under the Administrative exception, but that simply eliminates minimum wage in favor of a $455/week minimum salary. While the $1,000 fine is not certainly illegal, there are certain FLSA obligations that risk being violated.

          Federal Auto Dealer rules.
          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Unchained View Post

            So, since I signed it, I have no recourse? There is nothing that can be "undone"?
            Not saying that you have no recourse. I'm saying that under the Texas Payday Law, which requires that employees receive wages to which they are entitled, you have been paid, and voluntarily gave your employer $1k as a disciplinary penalty.

            cbg is correct that you should check with an attorney concerning the contract enforceability of the agreement (I'd bet it's enforceable).

            DAW is correct that there may be some minimum wage concerns, although I'd still rather to argue the side of this that you have been paid and made a voluntary contribution to your employer's bottom line.

            Comment


            • #7
              Was this fine "deducted" from your gross pay (before taxes) or from your net pay (after taxes)?
              I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

              Comment


              • #8
                That doesn't matter. You can't make a deduction instantly legit by taking it out before taxes.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't think Patty is suggesting that you can, but there are obvious tax implications nontheless.
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Answer

                    Originally posted by Pattymd View Post
                    Was this fine "deducted" from your gross pay (before taxes) or from your net pay (after taxes)?
                    It was deducted after taxes.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Texas709 View Post
                      you have been paid, and voluntarily gave your employer $1k as a disciplinary penalty.
                      Do you think it would be considered voluntary since I was offered a "sign it or get fired" scenario? Thats not really a free choice...more like a choice with consequences.

                      I would think that it would be voluntary if I agreed to pay it without the threat of loosing my job. But I basically had to pay for the opportunity to stay employeed.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes....htm#61.018.00

                        Note the phrase "lawful purpose". I'd contact the TWC.
                        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks!

                          Hey, that is fantastic research and info.

                          Thank you Pattymd!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pattymd View Post
                            http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes....htm#61.018.00

                            Note the phrase "lawful purpose". I'd contact the TWC.
                            I did that once. "Lawful purpose" means anything that's not illegal. Since there's no law against discipline, I believe it'd be a stretch to call this not a "lawful purpose".

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Unchained View Post
                              Do you think it would be considered voluntary since I was offered a "sign it or get fired" scenario? Thats not really a free choice...more like a choice with consequences.
                              Virtually every choice has consequences. I'm certainly not an apologist for the employer here, Unchained, but you entered the agreement, ostensibly willingly, after considering the consequences. If the employer's implied threat rises to the level of duress, you may have some wiggle room, although I believe you'd need legal representation to try that. (See cbg's advice, above.) In that case, you'll likely find yourself unemployed, anyway.

                              Under any circumstances, your perceived violation of the employer's policy is going to have...consequences.
                              Last edited by Texas709; 09-16-2008, 12:46 PM.

                              Comment

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