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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 7655
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Im a GM dealership Master Technician and paid on commision

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I'm a GM dealership Master Technician and paid on commision in flat rate hours for the diagnosis and repair of vehicles in the state of California. I should first point out that all of the following services are free and at no charge to all customers, regardless of make or model. For the past four years we(technicians) have been "required" to perform a visual vehicle inspections on every vehicle without compensation, when we were previously paid an 1/2 hour flat rate, by the dealer, per inspection. Now I admit that before it was required, I always inspected my customers cars just out of a courtesy. Today, we are told the dealer is now going to start paying a 1/2 flat rate hour for the "visual" inspection(Yah right?) however, the inspections are to include (which I believe goes beyond the word Visual) removing all four tires and measuring the brake pads and rotor thicknesses(measuring brake components is a brake service we normally charge 1 hour flat rate).. We are also required to preform a five mile test drive(due to our location and traffic takes 15 to 40 minutes depending on time of day), and set all tire pressures(setting tire pressures is now a state law requirement for all car dealerships and tire stores in the state of California). The dealer is saying that all of these services are requirements and concidered part of our job.
If I only work on one car all day it does'nt have a large impact, but I normally work on 5-10 cars a day which means out of an 8 hour work day, I'm only going to have 3-5 hours a day to spend on diagnosis and the repair of vehicles, of which, is what my pay is based on.
I'm in total agreement with providing our customers with these services, but the question is, who is responsible for the cost of providing these required services?
Does the dealer have the legal right to make these requirements? And if not, how should I address my concerns?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you.

I very much agree that it is unfair for these services to be demanded of you without compensation, or at least not adequate compensation. Unfortunately, however, an employer retains tremendous discretion to direct the manner of an employee's work as well as the particular tasks to which they are assigned. Accordingly, the requirements you describe would not ordinarily be illegal.

The only legal requirement would be that the commission compensation you recieve must never be less than minimum wage ($8.00/hr in California) per pay period. If your commission compensation falls below this threshold, then your employer would be required to make up the difference.

So for example, if you worked 40 hours in a pay period, minimum wage would guarantee you at least $320 in pay. However, if commissions in those 40 hours totaled only $270, your employer would be required to make up the difference and pay you the additional $50.

Regretfully, this is the only restriction that would apply. Otherwise, an employer is free to require employees to perform any work they please and in whatever manner they choose. The law reasons that if an employee is not happy with the working relationship, they are free to find alternative employment (though in this economy, I recognize that is not a realistic option for many people).

I realize that the law is not entirely in your favor here and I am truly sorry to have to deliver bad news. Nonetheless, I trust that you will appreciate an accurate explanation of the law and realize that it would be unprofessional of me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.

If you do not have any further concerns, I would be very grateful if you would give my answer a positive rating and click submit, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you. If you have any additional concerns that you would like me to address, please feel free to let me know by hitting the REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION button and I will be more than happy to continue assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Thank you and very kindest regards.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 7655
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for fast reply.


I'm inclined to believe most of what you state is true with exception of one paragragh concerning minimum wage.


 


You said minimum wage at 8 dollars an hour. I believe this is only true if the dealership provides your tools to perform your work. I provide my own tools so the minmum wage is actually 16 dollars per hour. (but I could be wrong)


 


So basically, the dealer can blackball an employee and have him do all the free services and then pay only minimum wage.


Then if the employee quits-he has no grounds to collect unemployemt.


 


BTW: with my experience and certifications I will never have a problem finding another job, and I thank you for the sentiment

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Inaccurate answer.
It was not my intension to select "not satisfied",I had'nt recieved an answer and this Ask Other popped up, so I clicked it.
But since you ask:
One portion of the answer was directed towards minimum wage which made me question thier knowledge of commission paid employees and how it differs from salery employees. I'm inclined to believe the answer but seeing that one error leaves a slight dought.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your followup. Since the question was re-listed, the system did not notify me of your reply.

There is no such thing as $16 minimum wage. That may be the wage minimum pursuant to some sort of contract you have, but no law state or federal requires an employer to pay an employee in any field an hourly wage more than $8.00/hr.

Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns and I will be happy to assist you further. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Kindest regards.

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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
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Significant experience in all areas of employment law.