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Outside salesman

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  • Outside salesman

    My husband is an outside salesman for a company in Pennsylvania. He began working for salary + commission. After a few months they switched him to a draw. Was not pleased with the switch but accepted it.

    Recently his draw reached $4,000, however he had a deal in the works for $4,200 commission. One week the company decided NOT to pay him because his draw had reached that level. They never notified us, simply decided not to pay. Once the $4,200 commission deal closed they began paying again. Until this week! Now his draw is up to $1300 and they decided to NOT pay him because he had no trial units placed in the past two weeks. Again, never told us - simply did not issue a check.

    Can they do this??? There is no written contract, but they seem to be making up their own rules on how his draw/commission/salary is going to work. What is our legal recourse here?

  • #2
    If your husband is exempt and a bona-fide outside salesperson, his employer does not have to pay him anything at all except his commissions, not even a draw.

    If they notify your husband in advance that his draw is going to be withheld, that is legal for them to do. If they do not notify him in advance, then the legality gets a bit muddy as it would depend on his exact structure and agreement, and may require a discussion with a well-qualfied PA labor attorney.

    However, even if he is in the right about the missing draw checks, his performance may be a bigger issue. His employer has a legal and well documented reason to terminate his employment: he is repeatedly not making his numbers.


    • #3
      Thank you for your response. But here is the issue. He spent 3 weeks closing the sale for the $4,200 and then another 2 weeks helping the installers (which is not his job but was asked to help out because it was 20 units and the company pays the installers $20/hr). 2 weeks of installing takes 2 weeks away from his selling time. His quota is 5 units per month - one deal was 20 units the deal before that was 15 units, well above quota. Two weeks without a sale in this type of business is pretty much acceptable and understandable. Also, my husband does not go into smaller companies to sell one or two units at a time, he hits the bigger manufacturing plants to sell 10-20 units at a time.

      We did not receive notification of the with holding of checks, in fact the owner of the company told him one day that the check was cut but not mailed, then the next day he was told by the payroll manager that the owner told him not to issue a check. Basically, in my opinion, this is a company that is run by two 30 year old men that are in way above their heads. They are not used to a salesman coming in and selling large deals. Their pricing structure does not account for installation of larger deals. His commission was reduced on a couple of sales because "it costed more to install than they had anticipated" I am not sure how that became the salesmans fault - he made the company a lot of money on these big sales, but since their pricing structure didn't account for the time/expense of installation his commission was reduced to keep the company profit margin in tack for the sale.

      Not sure any of this matter right now anyway. My husband was fired yesterday for complaining about not being paid & not being notified. There is no contract in place and nothing has been in writing regarding his commission, so I am not sure anything can be done anyway.


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