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When you work sales for commission-only wages, can an employer impose other duties on your time?

I work sales in a commission-only situation. I'm in the store 8 hours a day. Our supervisor requires the commission sales people to perform other duties, for example clerical, tagging & re-tagging stock & waiting on other sales people's customers if they are out of the store. These are all non revenue generating duties & take away time from legitimate sales activities which could produce commission. Any thoughts from a legal perspective?

Answers

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

It is not uncommon that your Sales Commission is contingent on additional tasks. To collect, you may include - active license, relationship development, ensure collections, be compliant with applicable regulations, profitability measures, customer service... In fact a plan that does not include these elements is not recommended. Your plan may also require you to be managed by a Sales Manager. Speak to HR and get a list of requirements to be eligible for commissions. Every job has administrative tasks.

Anthony Green
Title: Managing Partner
Company: AVAS Partners
(Managing Partner, AVAS Partners) |

Are you an employee or an independent contractor? The answer to that question really determines the legitimacy of non-sales orientated tasks. Generally, employees (even in commission only situations) can be required to perform other non-sales orientated tasks, while independent contractors can only be required to perform tasks associated with bounds of the contract. As Regis mentioned, successfully selling (from the company's perspective) requires some administrative tasks to be completed which don't lead directly to sales.

Best bet is to speak with HR first to be better informed about the company's policies. It could be as simple as a misunderstanding by you or your supervisor.

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

Great point Anthony. One of the tests the IRS uses to determine employee vs. contractor is "Control." If the company can direct the way the work is to be performed, that is a fact that leads you down the employee role. However, if the company only has control of the end product, that leads you down the contractor direction. There are several criteria, which is why I say "leads you in that direction."

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