Civil/Commercial Litigation (Lawsuits)/Sales rep agreement

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Question
I am independent rep.  I work solely on commission and am running into a situation with one of my companies.  I started working with them some years ago when there was literally no business and no income; over the years I have expended a tremendous amount of my own money to help get their business off the ground and now that the company is seeing some success they want to change the commission structure for the second time in as many years.

I started out being promised 5% for all sales and until a couple years ago there were no issues with this.  At that point we were starting to take off and the business began to grow and I was finally making some decent money and recouping my expenditures. That year they sent out a letter telling me that effective Nov 1, the commission structure would change to a deescalating value based on volume rising.  I did not agree to this, but was basically forced to accept it or give up the business I had spent six years building.  Today they notified me they are changing it again to a level that will make my higher volumes of sales make almost no commission.  I will now need to do nearly triple in sales to be the same income I had two years ago.

In the meantime the amount of work has gotten to the point to where I could no longer handle it alone and it became necessary to bring on an associate that is costing me over 30% of my gross a year plus expenses.  

I am moving rapidly backwards on income and launching forward in the amount of work required.  I can't just say screw it and resign as I need the income for myself and my associate.

Finally a question.  Is this all legal for them to do?  Do I have any recourse short of starting all over again?  What are my alternatives?

Answer
Greetings Bob,

Before I respond further to your question, I must make clear that I do not represent you, and cannot give you individual particularized legal advice. No attorney client relationship is created by this email. For legal advice, you should hire your own attorney, and follow their advice. My role with AllExperts is limited to providing general information and suggestions for educational or general knowledge purposes. Before you take any action, consult with your own attorney.

Furthermore, I see by your question that you are in Oregon, and I do not practice in your State.

In the absence of a contract regarding your commissions, I do not know of any legal barrier prohibiting employers from setting their compensation rates.  Under the Fair Labor Standards Act there are certain minimums, such as minimum wage etc., that employers must observe.

I suggest you bring all your documents about your past and potential commissions to a local attorney licensed in your State.  It will be helpful if you look for a practitioner that features labor or employment as an area of skill.  It is possible that you may have remedies both in State and Federal statutes.

I hope this helps, good luck to you.

Morgan Smith
SMITH & RAVER LLP
Minneapolis, Minnesota
http://smith-and-raver-llp.biz
Conciliation Court * Civil Litigation * Forfeitures * Construction * Family Law

Civil/Commercial Litigation (Lawsuits)

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Morgan Smith

Expertise

Civil litigation (contract claims, landlord-tenant actions, forfeiture suits, residential construction defect matters), Family law (divorce, custody modifications, child support modifications, and pre-nuptial agreement), new business start-ups, civil forfeiture, asset forfeiture. Please do not submit your question as Private. It is my policy not to answer Private questions from members of the public here on AllExperts; I reserve that function to my private clients. Although AllExperts permits me to change your questions from Private to Public, it is my policy not to do that. I encourage you to resubmit your question as a public question. Your public question has the potential to help others with similar concerns. I suggest that you use a pretend name and otherwise alter sensitive facts that make you inclined to treat your question as Private, and submit your question to me Publicly.

Experience

I've been practicing law in the State of Minnesota since 1995. I've worked in skyscraper firms, and now my own small firm in Minneapolis. Past answers from my earlier participation on AllExperts is posted at: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Civil-Commercial-Litigation-911/indexExp_80217.htm

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AllExperts, Yahoo Answers, http://smith-and-raver-llp.biz/News.html

Education/Credentials
J.D. William Mitchell College of Law, St Paul, MN

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