Can an employer legally give the commission of1 employee to another who did not earn it?

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Can an employer legally give the commission of1 employee to another who did not earn it?

I have a co-worker who works in classified ad sales. She was recently “reassigned” to what amounts to telemarketing without being asked (or agreeing to it). She was not advised about the new requirements or job expectations. She is still in a commissioned position but she is losing her clients. Her clients were divided up between the other co-workers and she will no longer receive the commission for them. Additionally, she is required to cover for said co-workers when they are absent from their workstation but does not receive the commission on the work she does while there.

Asked on September 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

What you describe is unfair, but not illegal. An employer has the right to define the tems of a job, an employee's duties, her salary or compensation, who her clients are, etc., unless the employee has an employment contract to the contrary. Assuming there is no contract, therefore, the company may decide to reassign an employee and does not need to consult with the employee or get her agreement. It may take clients away. It may make her do certain extra duties or cover for a coworker without being paid for them. Etc. If the employee doesn't want to work under those conditions, her recourse is to quit or resign, but she can't make the company do things differently or pay her differently if it doesn't want to.


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