California Employment Law

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I used to work with a company as independent contractor in…

Hello, I used to...

Hello, I used to work with a company as independent contractor in sales, commission based only. there was no contract since I had been working with them 9 years. i used to get paid 20% of the sales my team did, in september last year they sent me an email saying that no longer 20%, but 10%. and they started paying all sales including sales prior to the date of the email at 10%. shouldn't it be at 20% the sales prior to the email, and sales after that date at 10%?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Californai california

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?

Full time, I would work more than full time, at least 12 hours a day. my job was sales manager for latin america. we did not have employment agreement, what at will means in terms of agreements?

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Yes that they paid me for 5 months after that email at 20%, i had not noticed myself and when they realized in february they said that they needed to discount the extra they had paid and started deducting from my commissions and according to them I owed them 20K which according to my #s that is not correct, and then I spoke to them and the owner said you still owe us like 10k but we will let it be. according to my #s they actually owe me $4k.

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Answered in 6 minutes by:
11/20/2017
socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 40,065
Experience: Retired
Verified

Hello,

1. Where did you actually perform your services (California, a latin american nation, etc.)?

2. Where is the employer's headquarters (California, a latin american nation, etc.)?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
employer's headquarters are in valencia California
I worked from home in los angeles, and i traveled to Latin America to visit clients and find new clients

I don't take phone calls from this website. Another contributor may accept your request shortly. In the meanwhile, we can continue here if you choose.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
please

Based on your description of facts you very likely were not an independent contractor, even if you believed you were, and even though you may have signed a contract stating that you were an independent contractor.

California law is extremely hostile to independent contractor status, and employers that attempt to avoid the labor laws can suffer huge fines as a result. You can file a wage claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE); with the Employment Development Department (EDD); and with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

You could also tell the employer that you would really like to get paid what you're owed; and that a lawyer said that you may be an employee and not an independent contractor. If the employer "connects the dots," it will know that the risk is huge and that unless you get paid, big trouble may be brewing.

What you cannot do is threaten to report the employer to the government unless you get paid. That's criminal extortion, and you could end up in bigger trouble than the employer. So, you have to let the employer tie the independent contractor vs. employee issue together.

Alternatively, you can hire a lawyer and sue the employer.

Those are the options.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, Justanswer retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf. Note: If you cannot find the rating button on your webpage, please just type in your rating in a response to this note, and customer service will apply the rating for you.

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Hello again,

I see that you have reviewed my answer, but that you have not provided a rating. Do you need any further clarification concerning my answer, or is everything satisfactory?

If you need further clarification, concerning this matter, please feel free to ask. If not, I would greatly appreciate a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) – otherwise, Justanswer retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf. Note: If you cannot find the rating button on your webpage, please just type in your rating in a response to this note, and customer service will apply the rating for you.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
ok even if the payments were made to my company, I incorporated about 4 years ago. and they paid to my company.and I don't plan to sue them, it would me more the hussle and the expense, but i did want to know what can I say related to the labor laws that would get them a bit scared and will make them say ok we pay you. So is it ok if I write: According to my lawyer I could file a claim with State Labor department, because I might have been an employee than an independent contractor. But I do not want to do that, as I have said before I want to end this amicably, all I ask for you to revise my report and you will see that I am owed $4,000 for orders prior to Paolo's email, I think I am entitled to get that reimbursed, and also please review the report for orders from 2016 and beginning of 2017 that still have not been paid,

Do you have other employees that worked for your corporation on this project for the other business that was paying you?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
at the beginning I did,2 people, one of them my brother, but after a few months, maybe a year, they started paying them directly. after that it was only me. and in fact, before when I was an employee something that they would do was that they would reimburse me for expenses, but then would withdraw it from my commissions, they said to help me, but I think all the benefit was for them because i imagine they used that to get tax deducted.This also brings another question, during 9 years I worked a lot of hours and would travel a lot at my own cost, and i brought in a lot of clients, that when I left there was and still is existing business with them in other words they kept those clients and 4 salesmen i found, shouldn't i be able to get some compensation for the database they kept?
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
the 2 people that I paid, were people I myself found to help me cover the territory because It was getting too much for me alone, and I trained them i traveled to where they were and trained them and was made to pass all of my accounts to them.

Another question: Did you pay yourself as an employee, or did you simply take distributions from your corporation for any payments made by the other business?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
i was just taking like a draw every month but last year my accountant did a payroll in december for the full year. and will do the same this year. i started my company in 2013.

Okay, then you won't succeed with the employee gambit. And, that means your only recourse is to sue the employer in court. This also means that because you are a corporation, you would have to either hire a lawyer to represent the corporation in court, or you would have to dissolve the corporation and assign the right to sue to yourself as an individual.

The exception to the above would be if you are seeking no more than $10,000 in damages/compensation -- in which case, you can sue in small claims court.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, Justanswer retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf. Note: If you cannot find the rating button on your webpage, please just type in your rating in a response to this note, and customer service will apply the rating for you.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
ok but whether i am a corporation or an individual shouldn't the commissions have been paid at 20% for all orders prior to that email?

Yes. Until you were notified of the change in terms, the commission would remain 20%.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, Justanswer retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf. Note: If you cannot find the rating button on your webpage, please just type in your rating in a response to this note, and customer service will apply the rating for you.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
ok thanks, ***** ***** you recommend I say then in the email i am going to send them to get them to pay me,
Can I say, according to my lawyer, as per the California Fair Labor Standards Act my comissions prior to Paolo's email should have been paid at 20% on any sales orders posted prior to the date of that email.

You can't say that "my lawyer," because there's no attorney-client relationship formed at Justanswer. So, I'm not your lawyer.

You can say that you have contacted "a lawyer," that you believe that reducing commissions which were payable at 20% after those commissions were earned is a breach of contract and that if you are not compensated according to the original agreement, you may have to bring the matter to a court for resolution.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, Justanswer retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf. Note: If you cannot find the rating button on your webpage, please just type in your rating in a response to this note, and customer service will apply the rating for you.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
ok,even if there was no contract at all?

If you were being paid 20%, and you worked for that compensation, then that is an oral/verbal contract that can be proved by the conduct between the parties.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, Justanswer retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf. Note: If you cannot find the rating button on your webpage, please just type in your rating in a response to this note, and customer service will apply the rating for you.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
ok i was told by someone who is owner of a company that I could file a complain about this in the state labor department is that true?

I tried to explain all of this to you previously. To summarize: Because you were operating as a corporation, not as an individual who was tricked into working as an independent contractor rather than an employee -- the Labor Commissioner has no jurisdiction over your dispute.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, Justanswer retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf. Note: If you cannot find the rating button on your webpage, please just type in your rating in a response to this note, and customer service will apply the rating for you.

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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 40,065
Experience: Retired
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
ah ok thank you so much for your help. wish me luck. :)

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