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  • FIRST POST
    • genuinesadness
    • By genuinesadness 11th Jun 17, 9:21 PM
    • 3Posts
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    genuinesadness
    Underpaid - no-one will help!
    • #1
    • 11th Jun 17, 9:21 PM
    Underpaid - no-one will help! 11th Jun 17 at 9:21 PM
    Hi All,

    Hope everyone is well.

    I have been underpaid this month from my employer. Around £600 (pre-tax).

    This made me question my previous payments and upon rechecking found nearly all payments to have been short.

    I have raised the issue with my employer verbally for weeks - but they always palm me off with they will look into it etc etc. Now i found myself getting in trouble for very very minor things, even getting a verbal warning in since asking for my pay to be corrected.

    In my contract is says "(the company) reserves the right to alter commission paid if it is deemed to not have satisfactory profit margin". Which to me means they will lean on this when giving me the answer on whether or not to pay me the full amount owed (roughly £2,000 dating back 2 years). They will say they altered the comm. rates and my pay is correct.

    Does anyone have any advice for me?

    One thing that does hold me back is, although I have copies of my weekly sales returns, some of them include incriminating information against the company. I would never want it to feel like i was blackmailing the company into settling the pay owed through taking them to a tribunal and having to show my weekly sales returns.

    I just want the money that I have rightfully earned - with debts to pay, extortionate rent in London I cant afford to earn basic salary only - which is what im nearly on with the commission they havent paid me.

    I'm lost and dont know what to do. Help me!
Page 1
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 11th Jun 17, 9:48 PM
    • 3,723 Posts
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    sangie595
    • #2
    • 11th Jun 17, 9:48 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Jun 17, 9:48 PM
    Your debts and your rent payments are not the employers problem.

    If you are involved in criminal activity - which you imply if your sales returns are "incriminating" - then that will also be a problem for you. And blackmail is seldom a good idea. Nor the information one holds usually anything like what one thinks it is.

    If the commission is discretionary - which the quote that you have placed here suggests it is - then what you think they owe you and what they actually owe you are not the same thing.

    And I bet you don't have two years employment, do you?

    If you say the employer owes you money then it is up to you to prove it. Nothing here is saying you have such proof. So what evidence do you have they your are owed money?
    • genuinesadness
    • By genuinesadness 12th Jun 17, 9:45 AM
    • 3 Posts
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    genuinesadness
    • #3
    • 12th Jun 17, 9:45 AM
    • #3
    • 12th Jun 17, 9:45 AM
    Your debts and your rent payments are not the employers problem. Never said they were, just want to get paid in alignment with the contract I signed when taking the job, otherwise I would have taken a different job that paid the amounts stated.

    If you are involved in criminal activity - which you imply if your sales returns are "incriminating" - then that will also be a problem for you. And blackmail is seldom a good idea. Nor the information one holds usually anything like what one thinks it is. Said in original post that I didn't want to do that.

    If the commission is discretionary - which the quote that you have placed here suggests it is - then what you think they owe you and what they actually owe you are not the same thing. Effectively, unless you got in writing before every sale that your commission rate was at the contractually agreed amount on the contract you'd be in the danger every pay cheque

    And I bet you don't have two years employment, do you? Why would you bet that? I've been here 2 years 8 months and I love my job. If the pay was consistent I'd say it was the perfect role.

    If you say the employer owes you money then it is up to you to prove it. Nothing here is saying you have such proof. So what evidence do you have they your are owed money? This is why I came here for advice. What evidence could I supply?

    Overall I found your response pretty aggressive and unhelpful. But I thank you for responding all the same.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 12th Jun 17, 10:07 AM
    • 3,723 Posts
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    sangie595
    • #4
    • 12th Jun 17, 10:07 AM
    • #4
    • 12th Jun 17, 10:07 AM
    Your debts and your rent payments are not the employers problem. Never said they were, just want to get paid in alignment with the contract I signed when taking the job, otherwise I would have taken a different job that paid the amounts stated.

    If you are involved in criminal activity - which you imply if your sales returns are "incriminating" - then that will also be a problem for you. And blackmail is seldom a good idea. Nor the information one holds usually anything like what one thinks it is. Said in original post that I didn't want to do that.

    If the commission is discretionary - which the quote that you have placed here suggests it is - then what you think they owe you and what they actually owe you are not the same thing. Effectively, unless you got in writing before every sale that your commission rate was at the contractually agreed amount on the contract you'd be in the danger every pay cheque

    And I bet you don't have two years employment, do you? Why would you bet that? I've been here 2 years 8 months and I love my job. If the pay was consistent I'd say it was the perfect role.

    If you say the employer owes you money then it is up to you to prove it. Nothing here is saying you have such proof. So what evidence do you have they your are owed money? This is why I came here for advice. What evidence could I supply?

    Overall I found your response pretty aggressive and unhelpful. But I thank you for responding all the same.
    Originally posted by genuinesadness
    You do not like my response because it doesn't tell you what you want to hear. Not liking it doesn't change facts. Except for one very simply one that wasn't clear in your first post - you have accepted this contractual term for over two and a half years, and now want to dispute that the commission rate is discretionary, even though it very clearly says that in the contract that you quoted here. They say that they reserve the right to alter commission payments. They have altered the commission payments. That is the agreement that you signed when taking the job. Not the one that didn't exist where they pay you the commission rate you want paying.

    I am unable to tell you what evidence you need to prove something that can't be proven - if they are saying that the commission rate had been altered, and this is contractually permitted, which it is, then there is no evidence. You signed a contract with this term. If you didn't want to agree to it you should have taken that other job.
    • genuinesadness
    • By genuinesadness 12th Jun 17, 10:56 AM
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    genuinesadness
    • #5
    • 12th Jun 17, 10:56 AM
    • #5
    • 12th Jun 17, 10:56 AM
    I get what you're saying.

    But I feel it is a little underhand to change these rates retrospectively.

    In my contract it states that 3% comm is earned for every account sale and an extra 1% is paid for a cash upfront sale. (with the added clause mentioned previously). We are always notified upon quoting if a sales' commission rate is going to be lower than these before we complete the sale.

    All of these sales are at the standard margin - so the only way that they would be needing to alter it is if they were trying to not pay me the amount owed.

    So what I mean is it would be very out of the blue behaviour for them to now to me that the rates were lower for multiple sales over the last year or so.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 12th Jun 17, 11:11 AM
    • 1,685 Posts
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    steampowered
    • #6
    • 12th Jun 17, 11:11 AM
    • #6
    • 12th Jun 17, 11:11 AM
    Hello - When you say you are underpaid, how do you know how much you are owed? For example do you have a commission statement/calculation?

    If the missing payments are commission, your contract does allow the employer to amend commission if the profit margin is not satisfactory. But the employer would presumably have to prove that the profit margin was not satisfactory, and should also indicate this on the commission statement/calculation.

    If the sales were done at the usual margin I think the employer would struggle to justify adjusting the commission in your case if challenged in a county court claim.

    It may be possible to challenge this but you need to provide more details around how the commission was calculated and what documents you have.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 12th Jun 17, 1:10 PM
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    sangie595
    • #7
    • 12th Jun 17, 1:10 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Jun 17, 1:10 PM
    I get what you're saying.

    But I feel it is a little underhand to change these rates retrospectively.

    In my contract it states that 3% comm is earned for every account sale and an extra 1% is paid for a cash upfront sale. (with the added clause mentioned previously). We are always notified upon quoting if a sales' commission rate is going to be lower than these before we complete the sale.

    All of these sales are at the standard margin - so the only way that they would be needing to alter it is if they were trying to not pay me the amount owed.

    So what I mean is it would be very out of the blue behaviour for them to now to me that the rates were lower for multiple sales over the last year or so.
    Originally posted by genuinesadness
    But you see, the thing is, they haven't changed it out of the blue. It's been going on for several months or so - you said. You said that there were other payments which, upon checking, you find were similarly "short". Your version of this is that they underpaid you. Their version of this is that the profit margin wasnt satisfactory. And in this case I disagree with steampowered, because what is satisfactory is up to them to decide, not anyone else. They don't have to prove that the profit margin want good enough. They don't have to tell anyone what "satisfactory" means. It's the devil in the detail of agreeing something that isn't defined. Like discretionary sick pay. The discretion is the employers in total, and there are no rules that say otherwise. From where they are sitting, you have permitted this because (a) you signed up to it and (b) you didn't even raise it when it first happened. Now I know you will say that you didn't notice. But the fact is that it's your job to notice.

    From what you have said here, it appears that the only fixed contractual payment is the basic salary. If that is at or above the living wage, then your are going to struggle to find anything that says they have to pay you any more than that. Certainly, that isn't in your contract - your contract says they don't. The wording you describe here suggests that even not paying any commission would fall within their power.

    I don't see this ending happily. You've already been getting into trouble for things. Rightly or wrongly, they only need a disciplinary record to dismiss you. And I'd hazard a guess that they are working their way towards that. I know you don't think it's fair, and maybe they aren't the nicest employer, but the fact is that there is nothing here to suggest that they have done anything legally wrong or that they didn't tell you was the case. And in the end, that is all employers are really concerned about. They don't care how you manage on the wages, or what money you owe. Saying that isn't about being harsh - it is simply a fact. All you have going for you is the length of service, which means any dismissal must be legally fair. Legally fair is not something that is hard to do. I know you are going to say that you haven't done/ won't do anything to be dismissed for. Think again, because it really is easy to find a reason to dismiss if an employer wants to do it.
    • TyreLever
    • By TyreLever 12th Jun 17, 4:53 PM
    • 114 Posts
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    TyreLever
    • #8
    • 12th Jun 17, 4:53 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Jun 17, 4:53 PM
    I know you are going to say that you haven't done/ won't do anything to be dismissed for. Think again, because it really is easy to find a reason to dismiss if an employer wants to do it.
    Originally posted by sangie595
    What would an example of an easy dismissal that is legally fair look like? Lets say someone does everything to the book, what could an employer do to dismiss this person without making their role redundant?
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 12th Jun 17, 5:33 PM
    • 3,723 Posts
    • 6,096 Thanks
    sangie595
    • #9
    • 12th Jun 17, 5:33 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Jun 17, 5:33 PM
    What would an example of an easy dismissal that is legally fair look like? Lets say someone does everything to the book, what could an employer do to dismiss this person without making their role redundant?
    Originally posted by TyreLever
    Easy. A customer complaint or a colleague complaint - in a one on one "he said, she said" situation the employer is entitled to choose to believe one party over another. But you also don't have to go the whole hog at once - one warning after another for minor things. How about bullying - a wonderful one because every bully says they are innocent. That's just off the top of my head. I'm sure others will think of things. And you can never assume that your own colleagues won't turn against you either. In a situation of you or them, most people pick themselves. Or, to be more precise, they pick their jobs. Provided an employer follows the right process, it is all too often the case that evidence is secondary. Because there are too many situations were there isn't clear cut evidence - complaints and bullying being amongst the most common.

    The OP already commented that they are getting into trouble for things at work. Coincidence? The OP would have to claim that they were dismissed because they were pursuing the underpayment.... At which point we come full circle because the employer says there isn't one and the OP signed a contract for variable commission at the employers discretion, and here is the contract he signed....

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing. The OP probably thought the employer as honest as themselves. That's not something that you should assume. The term was clear. As mud perhaps, but it was clear.

    If the OP is set on trying to pursue this, I would stick my head down, say nothing more, get another job, and then claim at a county court after I left - assuming I was willing to risk losing, and assuming the employer had no comeback to get back at me (like a phone call to the new employer saying they are litigators). But risking the job you have for an uncertainty - that is not something I would recommend because not many employers continue to employ the people who took them to court.
    • itchyfeet123
    • By itchyfeet123 12th Jun 17, 11:18 PM
    • 395 Posts
    • 452 Thanks
    itchyfeet123
    In my contract it states that 3% comm is earned for every account sale and an extra 1% is paid for a cash upfront sale. (with the added clause mentioned previously). We are always notified upon quoting if a sales' commission rate is going to be lower than these before we complete the sale.
    Originally posted by genuinesadness
    If you were typically notified at the time of sale that the commission rate was going to be lower, it might be harder for them to claim carte blanche to lower commission after the fact. Does your contract lay out any specifics about how they decide to lower the commission rate and when you will be notified?

    Also, it seems as though you are so far just assuming the underpayment is because of a reduced rate of commission. This is something you should easily be able to check by looking at your records.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 13th Jun 17, 6:28 AM
    • 29,780 Posts
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    getmore4less
    seriously,

    you have a job with variable commission based pay and you have not been checking it since day 1.

    Everyone should be checking their pay every pay day.

    for some it will be just a check the amount paid is the same every time but even then there will be at least once a year when that needs checking properly as the tax deductions will change.


    Anyone with variable pay, overtime, unsocial rates, variable deductions, expenses and variable additions(commissions) should be checking properly.

    if you work for an employer that does not play fare on commissions then there are obvious answers get the system fixed so they cannot fiddle or get a new system.

    some of them include incriminating information against the company
    if you mean things other than your remuneration then that should have set the alarm bells if there is dodgy stuff going on then check they have not spilt over to employees.
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