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MShore, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 25285
Experience:  Negotiate, Draft, and Review many complex commercial agreements each year.
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A very close friend of mine who always exceeded her sales quota

Resolved Question:

A very close friend of mine who always exceeded her sales quota for the last 5 years and has been one of the top performing sales executives. The company decided to kill the product line they she sells and give her an unrealistic goal to learn a new product in 30 days, quadrupled her quota and told her she has to close deals worth one million dollars in these 30 days or they will terminate her (without severance). They also want her to sign a letter agreeing to these terms. Need advice. What are her legal options to at least get the severance which she woulds have gotton if they simply layed her off.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  MShore replied 8 years ago.

Good evening,


Assuming your friend is in an "at will" employment situation, unless there is a contract stipulating her duties/responsibilities and the sale of this new product is outside the scope those duties/responsibilities, there may be little that she can do. The reasonableness of the employer's request is really dependent on the value of the product she will be selling and the forecasted volume of sales. For example, if she was selling $25 widgets with a quota of $250,000 and the company now requires her to sell $100 widgets with a quota of $1,000,000 there really are no grounds to find the employer at fault. If the facts suggest that the corporation is placing an unreasonable requirement on your friend simply to later provide grounds to terminate her, then she could contact the State labor board and request that they review the matter.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
what about the 30 days to close business worth one million (on a product that she is not familar with yet)? It sounds to me like they are puposly setting her up for failaure so they can come back and terminate her based on performance (even though she has been a star for the last 5 years) to avoid paying her severance.
Expert:  MShore replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for the reply. If, for example, your friend is in the business of selling nuclear reactors or some other valuable commodity, sales of one million per 30 day period would not be unreasonable. Without the benefit of knowing the value of what she is selling, it is difficult to qualify the difficulty in reaching the one million dollar benchmark. Moreover, and unfortunately, in entering into an at-will employment situation (i.e. without a contract), employees are subject to the lawful requests/requirements of the employer. Here, it is not illegal for the employer to set what appears to be a high quota. It is obvious that your friend does not want to resign. In this case, the best option is for her to utilize her best efforts to reach the quota and if she is terminated for not reaching it, then file a wrongful termination suit against the employer. Be advised that the reason the employer wants her to sign the letter regarding termination is so that should the termination later be challenged on wrongful termination grounds the employer can point to the contract as evidence that the employee agreed with the terms of the employment and found the terms reasonable. I would advise your friend to have an attorney review the letter to ensure that in signing it she is not boxing herself into a corner should she later want to challenge her termination.
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