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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 118202
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I work company that pays straight commission. We have

Customer Question

I work for a company that pays straight commission. We have Territory Leaders, Account Reps,(those who visit accounts and secure the business), Photographers, and portrait sales (those who sell the portriats after they have been photographed). The Territory Leaaders manage the their territories by maaking sure all accounts are properly staffed, and make sure everything is flowing smoothly, is there to help, puts out fires, all the normal things. Most TL's are from a sales background and are not proficient at photography. Learning how to make infants thru five years of age stay in a pose, as well as smile takes a solid week of on the job training. In the past we had certified photography trainers who trained new photographers in their areas. We had a situation come up a couple of years ago, where home office management decided the TL's had the sole responsibility of all training including the costs involved - where if they did not want to train, or didn't know the position well enough; they had to pay for the pay for the trainer, as well as travel costs. At the time, I had written to top management asking why one employee who works for the company, needed to pay for training of another employee who works for the company, when the TL made only 5% of the revenue brought in by that employee. After much discussion, it was agreed that it was fair for eaach TL to train in the 2 areas they were most proficient in. Some TL's are photographers, so they may train in that and portrait sales; and have someone else train in Booing, or the Acct rep side. Well this was never put in writing. Now our company has been bought our by another company, who now is sayinng they will not pay for any training, it is the TL's responsibility. So for example, if a photographer needs to be trained for a given area, and the only other photographer there is new, and not a "trainer" and the TL can photo if needed, but doesn't feel qualified to train; needs a certified trainer from a neighboring territory, they have to pay for travel and hotel, plus per diem and the daily rate of travel pay. So we are wondering.... is this even legal?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
I am afraid that employment is considered to be at will, which means the employer can set the rate of pay and method of payment. So, it is not illegal for an employer to have a set up like you describe to make someone liable to pay for training as this is not really the company's liability under law to make sure employees are trained. The law says if an employee wants a job, it is their duty to make sure they have the skills and abilities for the job. This is where the employer can get away with making the TL liable to pay for training if they cannot do it themselves and it encourages the TL to learn what they need to know to be able to train and not have to pay for someone else to come in and do their job for them