Can my employer pay below the federal and state minimum wage amounts ifI work inside sales and get commission?

UPDATED: Apr 23, 2011

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Can my employer pay below the federal and state minimum wage amounts ifI work inside sales and get commission?

I was being paid $412 bi-monthly then I got moved to the next level; now I am paid $625 bi-monthly. There base pay is $10,000 for regular reps and $15,000 for the next level reps. Both are below minimum wage requirements. When you are first hired they pay you minimum wage for 2 weeks and then they claim that you are then exempt employees. They get by under radar because they advance you money and then take it out of next check. Jobs are really hard to find and I don’t know if I could afford an attorney. What would you suggest I do? There are many of us looking to go to attorneys; should we?

Asked on April 23, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Advancing you money and taking it out of your paycheck thereafter is not proper labor practice and all of you could be held accountable to the IRS and state tax authorities for fraud. If you and other employees know about it and wish to report it, that is good but keep in mind the concept of every man for himself. You can do a couple of things, but ultimately, if you have a family you need to be concerned about bringing home a paycheck. You should anonymously report the matter to the IRS tip lines and to the state labor department and tax authority. Further, you should immediately and quietly begin seeking employment elsewhere. Further, you should not discuss your plans or your anonymous call with anyone. If anyone approaches you to ask you to join them, explain that you will think about it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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