No Allowance For Such Nonsense

, , , , , | Working | CREDIT: SuspiciousAttitude71 | April 7, 2021

Earlier this summer, I temporarily took a job as a roofing salesperson for a construction company. The job description said I was managing a book of insurance agents and realtors, working referrals. In the interview, the boss was adamant that there was no door-knocking —just working relationships and referrals. I took the job and came to learn about week into my hire that they expected five or more hours a day of door-knocking. I could’ve quit right away but I figured I’d give it a go for a bit and just see how things went.

The job was full commission with a small weekly vehicle allowance, and I wasn’t responsible for working a regular schedule. But eventually, my boss started expecting everyone to work a regular schedule and report “at least forty hours” on our timecard app.

I fought with him about it because, as a non-hourly or non-salary employee, there was nothing to report. I got paid only for the work I brought in. Whether I worked eighty or five hours, the pay was the same and there was no contractual obligation to my time.

He got upset that I didn’t just give in and he told me that, because I hadn’t filled out a timecard, they wouldn’t give me my weekly vehicle allowance. It wasn’t a huge amount of money, but it was a matter of principle; I don’t get paid for time worked, so why do they need to know my hours?

My best friend is a labor attorney, and I asked him what I could do. He said I should just threaten to call the department of labor for withholding wages. So, I told my boss I’d call the department of labor. At this point, I was already in the process of getting hired for a job I really wanted, so I was planning on quitting soon anyway; I figured the company had it coming for all their lies and deceitful nature.

They agreed to give me the allowance. But then, later that day, Human Resources rolled out a policy that said that they would now be paying out the allowance based on hours logged on our timecard app. It was the expectation that we’d log forty hours, and if you didn’t meet forty hours, they would deduct a prorated amount from the vehicle allowance. The policy also said it was retroactive for the previous week. Therefore, I didn’t get my allowance for that week’s pay, as I continued to not log everything. I was a little pissed off about it.

That week, our boss made us work a great many more hours than usual, commuting several hours a day, each way, to a town he wanted us to get some work in. I went into our timecard app and logged my hours for the week — *a lot* more than forty. When the pay came that week, I only got the regular allowance — for “forty” hours. I asked my boss where the rest was, and he said it was a flat rate. I cited the new policy and said he owed me based on the “hours worked” and that I’d be calling the department of labor if I didn’t get it.

They ended up giving me the allowance based on my full logged hours. Later that week, Human Resources emailed the department saying that full commission people were exempt from logging hours and would be receiving the flat pay.

I won. I ended up quitting a short time later, followed by pretty much the whole sales staff.

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