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Commission payments should be carefully scrutinized

Employees work hard for the money they earn. For employees who count on commission payments, these payments need to come in on time and in the correct amount. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen. Sometimes, employers make mistakes with calculations, but this might come down to willful refusal to pay employees what they are due.

The commissions have to be calculated based on the employment contract that the employee has with the company. Employee who rely on commissions for part or all of their income should understand the type of commission they receive. Additionally, they should keep a few tips in mind about tracking these payments.

Workplace retaliation: Things you need to know

It doesn't matter if you enjoy the people you work with or don't exactly get along, it's important to understand that you have legal rights at your place of employment.

For example, EEO laws are in place to help protect job applicants and employees against retaliation for the following:

  • Filing an EEO charge or complaint
  • Being part of an EEO lawsuit or investigation
  • Communicating with a manager, supervisor or HR professional about matters of discrimination and harassment
  • Refusing sexual advances
  • Requesting accommodation for a religious practice or disability

Can your employer make you work overtime "off the clock"?

Companies that hire staff on an hourly basis often carefully monitor their staffing costs. In retail settings, like restaurants and stores, the company may create staffing estimates based on the sales on the same day in the previous year. Managers will create a schedule that reflects that estimate and then call in additional workers if needed or send staff home when it's slow. They may specifically send home workers who are closer to reaching the 40 hour mark for the week to avoid overtime pay.

It is perfectly legal to carefully schedule workers to avoid overtime pay. It's also legal to restrict overtime hours. Sometimes, however, unscrupulous managers will try to manipulate workers in unpaid overtime labor. These managers may ask workers to clock out and then continue working. When that happens, employees need to stand up for themselves and refuse to work without adequate overtime compensation.

Breastfeeding or pumping moms deserve protection at work

Most women know that pregnancy is a protected medical condition. Under both federal and state laws, women expecting children have the right to take medical leave, as well as the right to reasonable accommodations by their employers so that they can continue to work during pregnancy. After maternity leave, new mothers also have the right to return to the same position they held before their medical leave.

Fewer new mothers realize that their rights to breastfeed their babies or to pump breast milk for them are also protected under federal law. Breastfeeding is widely considered the best nutritional option for infants, as long as their mothers are able to do so. It is associated with better immune system development and even higher IQs in the children as they mature. It only makes sense that there are protections in place to encourage mothers to nurse or provide breast milk for their babies after they are born.

These tips can help you negotiate a severance package

Even when the economy seems to be doing well, some companies still choose to downsize or reorganize and reduce their workforce. If you have seen a few colleagues already receive their invitations to leave the company, you could be feeling some anxiety that you might be next. The next time the boss calls you into her officer, she might be doing so to let you go.

If you are worried that you might be the next lay off at work, you might be wondering if you are in a position to negotiate a severance package. The following tips can help you through the process.

Are you protected if you blow the whistle on your employer?

Imagine that you have been working in the same office in Sherman Oaks for the last few years. Things were going well until a new manager came on board and starting making changes. You have started seeing things happen that do not seem right. Management has started firing good employees, taking short cuts where they shouldn't and even denying your own claim for medical leave.

There are certain laws in place to protect employees. There are wage laws that keep employers from using unfair pay practices. There are health and safety regulations with which every employer has to comply. And, there is the Family Medical Leave Act that your boss must also adhere to. When you see your supervisors or employer violate employment laws, it is within your rights to report it. You may be concerned with losing your job for filing a complaint, but there are whistleblower laws in place to protect you from that and any other retaliation.

Age discrimination is a serious issue for older professionals

When people think of workplace discrimination, age usually isn't the first category they think of. Many of the most famous workplace discrimination cases have involved people facing sexual harassment or racial discrimination from managers or employers. Age discrimination, while relatively common, seems to garner less attention from the media.

Age discrimination can take a number of different forms. In some cases, it could look like an older staff member receiving fewer shifts, leads or hours at work. Other times, age discrimination looks like workplace harassment when co-workers or a manager take joking too far. Constant jokes about gray hairs, poor memory or the need for adult diapers could certainly create a hostile work environment and harm someone's career. Age discrimination is a serious issue with long-term consequences for its victims.

Retaliation for reporting harassment at work takes many forms

The holiday season is a time for work parties, often involving alcohol. While drinks can facilitate socialization at events, they can also lead to poor behavior and questionable decision making in some. Managers could make unwanted sexual advances toward staff, or one worker could assault others by touching them against their wishes. These kinds of issues are incredibly common, and employers should take reports of harassment and abuse from co-workers seriously, regardless of whether it started at the company party or not.

Unfortunately, harassers often seem to get a free pass in business. People who report abuse, harassment or mistreatment to management or human resources often receive retaliation and punishment instead of support. Those who misbehave and create hostile work environments may go without so much as a write-up, while those who report the misbehavior of others end up miserable at work. That kind of retaliation is illegal, but it happens with some frequency.

Know your rights as a working pregnant woman

Pregnancy is a joyous condition for many women. However, even a women who is thrilled about being pregnant might be wary to discuss the pregnancy with her employer. This is partially because she might be worried about how the employer will react to the news.

One thing that all employees and employers should realize is that discriminating against a woman because she is pregnant is illegal. Here are some points that you should know about this form of discrimination:

Your employer is legally bound to pay you commissions as promised

Taking a job in sales can be very stressful. You need to be constantly working and pushing for better sales figures in order to have a regular income. After all, you may only receive a minuscule base salary, or, in some cases, no pay at all except for commissions. You depend on those commissions to pay your mortgage or rent, to put food on the table for your family and to cover your costs of living.

In order to ensure that you're making enough during any given pay period, you probably track your own sales very closely. That way, you don't have to worry about any surprises when its paycheck time. Tracking is particularly useful if your employer has a bonus structure to the commission program, where selling certain amounts or particular products will earn you extra incentives. If your records aren't matching up with your employer's, you may need to take action.

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