How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask socrateaser Your Own Question
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37809
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
Type Your California Employment Law Question Here...
socrateaser is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Im an outside salesman; in 2009 my boss cut my salary and

This answer was rated:

I'm an outside salesman; in 2009 my boss cut my salary and commission plan down quite a bit (after coming right back from cancer). He set impossible goals, however I achieved and exceeded them and have been getting great bonuses the last year. So now he wants to cut and change my bonus plan again, and basically make it so my sales will plummet. He says "he's my boss and can do whatever he wants," even saying he doesn't require my signature on the new agreement, because it's not an employment contract. My customers can't stand him, all the other employees hate him and he harasses everyone. Is there ANYTHING I can do??

Sorry for the delay, but I was out of the office most of yesterday -- this is the first that I've seen of your question.

A commission policy is an implied employment contract, because when you perform in reliance on the terms of the policy, you are thus entitled to compensation based upon that policy -- under the legal doctrine known as "contract by promissory estoppel." So, your boss is wrong here as a matter of law -- your signature is not required to make a contract, concerning your already earned sales commissions. All you need is a copy of the policy and proof that you were paid under that policy in the past.

However, once a new policy is set forth in writing, if the employee continues to work for the employer after having notice of the policy, then a new contract by promissory estoppel is created, and the employer and employee are bound by that new contract.

As far as what you as an employee can do, the answer is, regrettably, that under Labor Code 2922, your employer can terminate your modify your employment "at will," at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all -- except for discrimination based upon race, color, nationality, ancestry, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, equal pay between sexes, age or disability -- or, where you are terminated for following a well-established public policy (e.g., jury duty, report of employer's alleged criminal activities to law enforcement, etc.).

BotXXXXX XXXXXne, if you don't like the commission plan, and you don't see unlawful discrimination or public policy violation, then dust off your resume and move on, before your driven crazy.

Note that any change of employment contract which effectively reduces an employee's wages by at least 20% would permit the employee to quit and still obtain unemployment benefits. Anything less risks a denial of UI benefits.

Hope this helps.

NOTICE: My goal here is to educate others about the law. I am always available to answer your follow-up questions after you click Accept – however, if you do not click Accept, the website gets paid, and I receive nothing. This is true, even if you are on a subscription plan. So please click Accept, so that I will be able to continue to provide this service for others in the future.

And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“To Socrateaser”), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!

socrateaser and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for the response, it clears up a lot of confusion. I (and probably about 50% of the population) will have to hope that laws against "bullying" in the workplace will be put into effect in the near future. Then perhaps we will have recourse when not treated like a human being.

Related California Employment Law Questions