Can my employer force me to contribute a portion of my income indirectly to charity?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my employer force me to contribute a portion of my income indirectly to charity?

My fellow employees and I work on commission and every year our company holds toys for tots and food drives and offers our clients a discount on our services when they bring in these items. Not all services are discounted, only a select few. The discount a dollar amount is pulled half from the employers percentage and half from the employees percentage. We are not given a choice as to whether or not we want to participate in these charity drives, we are simply required to give up a dollar amount of our commission. We are not given any tax credit receipts either. The only person who benefits from a tax credit for donating these toys and cans is our employer a single person. Is it legal for our employer to make us give up our earnings? Our employment contract simply states that we agree to a 50 commission and that prices for services are subject to change….but does that mean for whatever cause our employer wants to receive a tax benefit for??

Asked on December 9, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If there was no written employment or commission contract, the employer could require this: commissions are not protected by wage or labor laws the way base wages or salary are, and without a written contract, the employer may change the terms under which you receive a commission to require this "charitable" giving.
But if you have a written contract, it specifies how much (e.g. what % of sales) you get as a commission, then while that contract is in effect (unexpired), the employer cannot alter its terms--you must get that amount without money being taken out for this or another purpose.

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