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fired for low sales quota

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Can a sales representative for a very large company (360,000 employees nationwide) be fired because her "sales numbers are down" when the company gives her newly acquired top dollar new accounts to other sales reps?

This company has a policy that allows for new accounts to be transferred to other sales representatives that have earned promotions to senior levels. If the new account is valued at a specific top dollar range, the lower level sales rep is forced to turn the account over to the senior level employee. No commissions are paid for either party, they are all salaried, however, the senior level positions bring in much bigger salaries.

That being said, as she brought in new business in an attempt to be promoted to the senior level, her clients were taken away; hence, her low sales quotas. As she attempted to stay within the dollar range that would afford her to ability to maintain the account, the company merged the new account with another one within the same business establishment, therefore taking the account above her level. voilla! another one gone.

She was told in December of 2001 that if her numbers did not improve within 60 days she would be fired. Between then and now, management changed (direct supervisory as well as upper level). She has had 5 different immediate supervisors and at times no direct supervisor at all. Of the 5, they spoke to her about the low sales quota (nothing in writing) and each gave her additional requirements. One asked that she open 6 new accounts per day and gave her another 30 days to accomplish this task. One rode along with her and mandated that she carry her laptop and make entries after each call. They also added extensive computer administrative duties which requires her to work 10 - 12 hours per day in order to meet the 6 account per day requirement as well as the computer workload. Her newest supervisor (as of last week) gave her an additional 30 day extension until October 30.

She was in a staff meeting last week with another employee who has lower numbers than she (he is about 30 years of age) and has been there about the same number of years as her. The supervisor told him that his job is not in jeopardy. She is 53 years old.

Sounds fishy to me. What do you think? thanks, :(


I'm a Northern Girl
It's impossible to say for certain on the basis of what's here, but if she believes that the "low sales numbers" is actually a pretext for age or gender discrimination, she should contact the EEOC and/or the state discrimination board.


She contacted Maryland's division of the EEOC in writing- they are going to get back to her.

In the interim, she contacted the company's grievance outside vendor who in-turn files a complaint with the company corporate compliance office for investigation. She phoned an 800 hotline number as an anonymous caller (no names, etc mentioned) and registered a report. The hotline gave her a report number and asked her to phone back with the report number in two weeks (to the 800 number) for feedback.

Two days after phoning the hotline, my friend received a call from the companies's regional human resource director who stated that they knew it was she who called the anonymous "hotline". The HR director left a message stating that they wanted to schedule a face to face meeting immediately to "get this issue resolved". I should also note that the HR directed left a second message immediately after the first instructing my friend to return the first phone message via her response to the demand for the face to face meeting. (As if, the HR director was afraid of something she said). hmm......

The question: Should she meet with this HR director or wait for the feedback from the anonymous hotline first? I am thinking that the fact that the company HR office named her and said so in the phone message is a breach of confidentiality of the company code of business that states ". . .anonymous will be confidential . . ." And, that she sould not meeting with anyone within the company until the corporate compliane officeinvestigation is complete and she gets the feedback.

Should see meet with the HR representative now?. The company "code of business" also mentions no retaliation, etc. for grievances. What do you think?

Also, they hired her in June of 2000 as a salaried plus commission employee. In december of 2000, they verbally (nothing in writing, no advance notice) changed their policy and removed commissions from her pay, maing her strictly a salaried employee. She received the approximate $2,000 commission for the six month period but effective Jan 1 2001, she no longer received commissions. Is this appropriate? Can a company legally retroactively pull back on commissions - this costs her at least $4,000 annually. HELP!
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I do believe there may have been a breach of confidentiality but I'm not sure how she would prove it. As far as the meeting goes, if she chooses to attend she legally may have a witness present (company may refuse to speak in front of a witness but this would probably mean they are hiding something) but the company can not refuse to allow her to have a witness present. She can always tell them she would like someone present for emotional support.


thanks so much for the quick response.

What do you think about the loss of dollars with regard to the commissions?

Also, can she legally record the conversation with HR and her supervisor as long as all parties in the room agree to being recorded?

One other thing, I personally as her friend think she is being harrssed and forced to resign. That being said, since they have taken away some of her pay via the comission removal, does she have a legitimate EEOC complaint? again, thanks.

by the way, she is afraid to write via the net as she fears loss of her job and I am therefore the liaison. Xena

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