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North Carolina : Commission Payback for Company Loss? North Carolina

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  • North Carolina : Commission Payback for Company Loss? North Carolina

    I was recently let go from a company for questioning their business practices. I was an hourly/commission based employee. At first we were making our hourly rate and 2% off of anything we sold to new clients and the renewal of a client for our product/service for the following year. Last year because the company took a sizable loss due to closing our sister location and having a large corporate client decide to not do return business with us they decided that we were to blame for the loss. They then decided that they were going to change our commission structure that they would pay us 3%, but if for any reason one of our clients went inactive (i.e. decided not to use their materials ordered, location closed down, etc.) or if the client did not want to renew the program again due to their personal decision, corporate decision, economic situation, etc. we were to pay back the company 3% to make up for their loss. In the case of a client going "inactive" the product had already been invoiced and paid and no returns are accepted because it what they call a "specialty item" made for the client/business specific location. They somehow tried to beat it into us like it was our fault for the location not using their materials purchased. If the client decided not to renew the program/product for another year (12 mos.) we had to payback 3% of commission we never even earned? I finally spoke up after many months of them garnishing my commission that I didn't think that was a legal practice and I was fired that day for a "negative attitude" toward the company. A few weeks later a coworker made the same inquiry because they were trying to garnish her commission and her bonus and she was let go that same day as well for guess what a "negative attitude". We were never given anything in writing about this change nor signed anything. All of this is very fishy and I would like to know if we can file a complaint and be paid back our commission that was withheld without approval.

  • #2
    It is questionable. While reporting pay practices to a government agency is protected activity, complaining internally is not similarly protected. Your state does have a state law which protects whistleblowers but whether what you actually said and to whom meets the threshold for coverage under that law is an analysis best left to an attorney.
    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
      RE North Carolina Commisison Payback

      Originally posted by jjameson View Post
      I was recently let go from a company for questioning their business practices. I was an hourly/commission based employee. At first we were making our hourly rate and 2% off of anything we sold to new clients and the renewal of a client for our product/service for the following year. Last year because the company took a sizable loss due to closing our sister location and having a large corporate client decide to not do return business with us they decided that we were to blame for the loss. They then decided that they were going to change our commission structure that they would pay us 3%, but if for any reason one of our clients went inactive (i.e. decided not to use their materials ordered, location closed down, etc.) or if the client did not want to renew the program again due to their personal decision, corporate decision, economic situation, etc. we were to pay back the company 3% to make up for their loss. In the case of a client going "inactive" the product had already been invoiced and paid and no returns are accepted because it what they call a "specialty item" made for the client/business specific location. They somehow tried to beat it into us like it was our fault for the location not using their materials purchased. If the client decided not to renew the program/product for another year (12 mos.) we had to payback 3% of commission we never even earned? I finally spoke up after many months of them garnishing my commission that I didn't think that was a legal practice and I was fired that day for a "negative attitude" toward the company. A few weeks later a coworker made the same inquiry because they were trying to garnish her commission and her bonus and she was let go that same day as well for guess what a "negative attitude". We were never given anything in writing about this change nor signed anything. All of this is very fishy and I would like to know if we can file a complaint and be paid back our commission that was withheld without approval.

      Just a reminder, in NC, the whistleblower protection is afforded only to state employees. If you are an employee of a municipality and you report wrongdoing and are terminated, you are out of luck. I would have never believed this but I have seen this situation first hand and have consulted several legal eagles regarding this. ALL of them agreed that the employee can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all. If you ever wondered why the city or county cannot get anything done, its because they are very busy playing games rather than serving the public. Good luck.

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      • #4
        I would talk to your state Department of Labor. They should either file for you, tell you if you do not have a case, or recommend if you should hire a private legal representative. Commission law is different from state to state.

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