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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 39027
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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My daughter is employed as one of only 2 female brokers for

Resolved Question:

My daughter is employed as one of only 2 female brokers for a major commercial lender. She and her partner/supervisor have worked over a year to get a big account, discount their fees on smaller deals. Right before they landed the $65 million deal, biggest in their branch, another branch manager in the bigger market place fired her partner/manager (model employee with 12 yrs at the company), and inserted himself into the deal, taking half of the commission, and splitting the other half for the fired manager and my daughter. the deal was not won yet, many competition bidding for the same loans. My daughter's work doubled, she lost a working analyst-partner.
She got the client to go with her but she is demorized (getting the least amount of money in commission of 4 brokers involved - fired one, new boss (50%), outside broker who brought the deal to them, and herself), pressured (working 80 hrs a week, sometimes 24 hrs in a day so they can submit the package). Her new boss yells and has a different business style, and she has told him many times that it would not help the deal, which is index sensitive and is not a done deal until the rate is locked...right now the rate is going the other way..and she is getting yelled at a lot from both sides.

At this point, she does not care, waiting to quit if things get worse.
If she quits, there is no severance pay or settlement for the work she did so far. Terminated partner got both, though the termination was wrong. At will employee, though. human resources protects the company with 700+ employees. If she can get the client to lock the rate (and not go to competitor in the meantime), they make about $120k on their side (she makes $25k maybe) and later when the loan is sold, she can make another $50k. She is so beat, that she doesn't care. Exhausted and demoralized.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for your statement of facts. What legal question can I "justanswer" for you?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Does she have any legal ground, without litigation to protest the new commission split as a result of this termination of her partner?
The new boss is taking 50%, and she and her old partner (via settlement agreement) is splitting the remaining 50%, half and half. They are still paying all of the cost of concessions out of their share.
Her work doubled, and she got her commission cut from 50% to less than 25%.

Is there enough ground to turn this issue into labor board?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 6 years ago.
A sales commission is the property of the salesperson at the time that the commission is fully earned. Harris v. Investor's Business Daily, Inc., (2006) 138 Cal.App.4th 28 at 41, 41 Cal.Rptr.3d 108 at 118.

The issue for your daughter is when, under her employment contract, is her commission fully earned? This is a question of contract law interpretation. Commission agreements may be expressed in an employer's offer letter, a job description, an express contract/agreement, or implied by employer's prior conduct with the employee -- thus, the issue is not easily determined. With a very large commission, as your facts suggest may be in play, the issue may be worth litigating.

Assuming that the commission was fully earned at the time the new manager inserted himself into the account, then your daughter can recover the entire commission in court.

Hope this helps.

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