Legal Question in Employment Law in California

Sales goals that are unrealistic

I am a salesperson, paid by salary plus commission. Is there a law prohibiting a company from assigning an unrealistic/unreachable goal (quota) so as the salesperson does not receive any commission? Average base pay per week is $400. Average commission per week is $500-$700. We are shown a six-month average on our territory and then assigned a quota. But the quotas/goals do not add up; there is no way to reach them. Thus, we are only to receive our base pay. Is this legal? Also, certain package buys have $120 deducted from the revenue for ''operating costs''. Can a company charge the salesperson for the operating costs? This same $120 is not counted towards our revenue quota.

Asked on 3/03/01, 4:58 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Keith E. Cooper Keith E. Cooper, Esq.
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Re: Sales goals that are unrealistic

If you took the job understanding these terms and continue to work there, you have implicitly accepted these terms. It sounds as if the employer may be unscrupulous, but it may also be that he simply has unrealistic expectations of his sales staff. Have you or anyone on the sales staff confronted him about this?

On the other hand, if when you were hired you were promised that you could achieve a certain level of commission within a certain time frame, and your employer has changed the rules after you accepted the job (i.e. as to how much commission you receive or what is commissionable), you may have a claim.

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Answered on 4/30/01, 3:41 pm

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