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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37914
Experience:  I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.
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I WAS HIRED AS A FINANCE MANAGER FOR A DEALERSHIP 12/15/2013

Resolved Question:

I WAS HIRED AS A FINANCE MANAGER FOR A DEALERSHIP 12/15/2013 AND ACCEPTED EMPLOYMENT ON A WRITTEN CONTRACT AND WAS ALSO TOLD BY MY EMPLOYER THAT I WOULD BE COMPENSATED $50 FOR EACH WARRANTY I SOLD BY OUR WARRANTY REP AND THAT WOULD BE 1099 INCOME FROM HIM. (THOSE ARE KNOWN IN MY BUSINESS AS WARRANTY SPIFFS)ON MY SECOND DAY OF EMPLOYMENT, I WAS TOLD BY MY WARRANTY REP THAT THE OWNER OF THE STORE TOOK AWAY THOSE SPIFFS FOR FINANCE MANAGERS AND I WOULD NOT BE RECEIVING THEM. THOSE SPIFFS WOULD HAVE MADE UP A LARGE PART OF MY INCOME AND I CERTAINLY NEVER WOULD HAVE ACCEPTED EMPLOYMENT IF I WAS TOLD I WOULD NOT BE RECEIVING THAT. I WAS PREVIOUSLY WORKING FOR A DEALERSHIP THAT WAS ALSO PAID SPIFFS ON WARRANTIES AND WAS ALSO MAKING A HIGHER PERCENT IN COMMISSION SO TO TAKE A PAYCUT IN BOTH AREAS MAKES ZERO SENSE. I WENT TO THE GM OF THE STORE AND HE SAID THAT SINCE SPIFFS WERE REALLY A BONUS PROGRAM AND NOT PART OF THE PAY PLAN, THERE WASNT ANYTHING HE COULD DO. HOWEVER HE KNEW THAT WAS A ROTTEN THING TO DO AND OFFERED TO PAY ME $400 UNDER THE TABLE WITHOUT THE OWNER KNOWING TO KEEP ME AS AN EMPLOYEE AS I JUST TOOK A VERY LARGE PAY CUT. HE ALSO TOLD ME TO KEEP MY AVERAGE AT $1000 PER COPY FOR 6 MONTHS AND HE WOULD REVISE MY PAY PLAN. AFTER MY 6 MONTHS I WENT TO HIM AND SAID THAT I'VE DONE WHAT HE ASKED OF ME AND I HAVE BEEN HOLDING OVER $1300 PER COPY AVERAGE SINCE I STARTED AND IT WAS TIME TO REVISE MY PAY PLAN AS HE SAID PREVIOUSLY. HE HAD ASKED ME TO COMMIT TO THE END OF THE MONTH TO STAY AS HE WAS GOING ON VACATION AND I AGREED OUT OF PROFESSIONAL COURTESY BUT TOLD HIM WE NEEDED TO GET THIS HANDLED OR I COULD NOT CONTINUE TO STAY UNDER THE CURRENT PAY PLAN. HE ASKED IF I WAS BEING PURSUED BY OTHER COMPANIES AND I TOLD HIM I WOULD NEVER LIE TO HIM AND THAT YES, I HAD RECEIVED SOME CALLS FROM COMPETITORS. THAT WAS AT THE BEGINNING OF JUNE. WHEN HE GOT BACK FROM VACATION MID JUNE HE TOLD ME TO WRITE UP A PROPOSAL OF THE PAY PLAN I WANTED AND DEALERSHIPS I SPOKE WITH AND THE NAMES I SPOKE WITH AND THE COMPETITORS PAY PLANS AND THAT HE WOULD GET IT HANDLED. I WROTE UP ALL THE INFORMATION PER HIS REQUEST AND HE TOLD ME TO GIVE HIM A FEW DAYS TO GET WITH THE OWNER. A WEEK WENT BY AND I HADNT GOTTEN A RESPONSE SO I ASKED HIM HOW THINGS WERE GOING AND HE SAID HE NEEDED A FEW MORE DAYS AND ASKED IF I TALKED WITH ANYONE ELSE. I TOLD HIM THE OTHER DEALER THAT HAD CALLED ME AND I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE MY CURRENT EMPLOYER BUT I COULDN'T AFFORD TO LET THOSE WINDOWS CLOSE IF HE COULDN'T REVISE MY PAY PLAN. AGAIN, HE TOLD ME HE WOULD GET IT HANDLED. 2 WEEKS AFTER I GAVE HIM MY WRITTEN PROPOSAL HE CAME INTO MY OFFICE AND TOLD ME THAT NOT ONLY COULD HE NOT GET ME A BUMP IN PAY, BUT I HAD UNTIL THE END OF THE MONTH AND HE HAD TO LET ME GO. WHEN I ASKED WHY HE TOLD ME BECAUSE SINCE I DIDN'T GET A BUMP IN PAY THAT MY ATTITUDE WOULD BE HORRIBLE AND SINCE THEY KNEW I WAS LOOKING FOR WORK THEY HAD TO LET ME GO. I HAVE VARIOUS EMAILS FROM UPPER MANAGEMENT THAT THANK ME FOR THE GREAT JOB I DO AND I'VE NEVER BEEN DISCIPLINED IN ANY WAY AND NOW I'M BEING TERMINATED FOR AN ATTITUDE THAT I HAVE NOT YET DISPLAYED WHEN HE KNEW THAT I HAD OTHER DEALERS CALLING ME IN THE FIRST PLACE. I AM AWARE THAT WASHINGTON STATE IS AN AT WILL STATE, BUT THIS IS RIDICULOUS. THEY CHANGED MY AGREED UPON PAY PLAN ON MY SECOND DAY AND TOLD ME TO MAINTAIN A CERTAIN DOLLAR AVERAGE FOR 6 MONTHS THAT I'VE EXCEEDED BY ALMOST $400 PER COPY AND NOW AGAIN, MY PAY PLAN WASN'T REVISED AS HE STATED IT WOULD BE. PER HIS REQUEST, I WROTE UP MY OFFER AND THE INFORMATION OF THE PAY PLANS OF OUR COMPETITORS AND NOW I AM OUT OF A JOB AT THE END OF THE MONTH. I ALSO HAVE TO BUY ANOTHER VEHICLE. PART OF MY PAY PLAN INCLUDED A COMPANY CAR SO I SOLD MY OWN FREE AND CLEAR 2008 JEEP RUBICON ON MY SECOND MONTH OF EMPLOYMENT SINCE I HAD A COMPANY CAR. TO ME, THIS ENTIRE EXPERIENCE WITH THIS COMPANY HAS BEEN ONE DIRTY TRICK AFTER ANOTHER. IF THIS ISN'T DETRIMENTAL RELIANCE TO SAY THE LEAST, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS. AGAIN, IF HE DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS A DIRTY TRICK, WHY WAS HE PAYING ME UNDER THE TABLE EVERY MONTH TO KEEP ME? ALSO, I NEVER RECEIVED A W2 FROM THIS COMPANY. SINCE IT WAS ONLY 15 DAYS OF WORK IT DIDN'T BOTHER ME MUCH BUT I DONT THINK THAT IS LEGAL EITHER. ANY ADVISE YOU HAVE WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.
THANK YOU!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I appreciate the information and I am sorry that you are in this situation.

"Detrimental reliance" generally must include these factors to be present:

1. the promisor should 'reasonably expect' the premise to induce action or forebearance of action
2. this action or forebearance must be of definite or substantial character AND
3. such action or forebearance is induced.

The issue here is whether or not such action was 'reasonably expected'. Could you 'reasonably expect' to keep your car or sell it, or could you reasonably expect to obtain a raise or retain employment. That, likely is not reasonable because, as you said, you were not under formal contract but were instead 'at-will'. Since there was nothing in place other than oral assurances, it is hard to claim that the courts would find those assurances to be reasonably relied upon. As much as I would wish to give you a different answer, and I do, simply looking at it from a 'reasonable person' standard makes it a very hard case to prevail against. This isn't a situation where you were compelled to move 1000 miles (for example), or go to school at your expense at their request. As a consequence I am not sure you could make this claim in this case.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Just a few more questions. Do I have any recourse if 2 other managers knew I was being paid under the table to keep me? Doesn't that imply some sort of knowing or admission of there was wrong doing? Also, one of those 2 managers was also present when I was told to maintain $1k average and in 6 months my pay plan would be revised. He was also there when I was told by my GM to write up my pay plan proposal & it would be handled.


 


 

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your follow-up, Audrey. I am glad to further clarify.

You asked:
Do I have any recourse if 2 other managers knew I was being paid under the table to keep me?
That permits you to contact the state department of labor and report the company for illegal wage practices, and report the same to the state unemployment agency. Just be aware that you would need to report and pay taxes on those funds on your tax return.

Doesn't that imply some sort of knowing or admission of there was wrong doing?
Not at all, it implies and show you were paid under the table, which in itself is a violation, but it is not an admission of further wrong-doing.

Also, one of those 2 managers was also present when I was told to maintain $1k average and in 6 months my pay plan would be revised. He was also there when I was told by my GM to write up my pay plan proposal & it would be handled.
Those were arguably unenforceable promises which the other party did not have to honor as they were not in writing. A promise to increase your wages is not binding without a written agreement

Hope that helps.

Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37914
Experience: I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.
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