When it comes to recruiting sales representatives, it is only natural for a business owner to want the best of the best. In many cases, successful sales reps are noticed because they do such an excellent job for other companies. However, inducing an employee from another business could become costly if not all the intricacies of employment law are considered. A business owner could face unanticipated problems if, for instance, the sales manager entices an employee to join the company by promising incentives and commissions of which the owner is unaware.
A recent such case of inducement made its way through the British Columbia Supreme Court this year when the sales manager of another company lured a 44-year-old sales representative from a lucrative and secure position. He was promised high-profile, big-money projects after a probationary period of between six and nine months, as well as a specific percentage of commission on top of a salary similar to what the other company paid him. Furthermore, the sales manager promised to double the commission percentage after the first three months.
The sales rep accepted the offer, expecting to see a substantial increase in his income. However, the employment contract he signed stated performance-based commissions with none of the promised details. As fate would have it, the company dismissed the sales manager soon after the sales rep started working for his new employer. It was not surprising that none of the promises were honoured, he never worked on major projects, and, with no salary increases, he was dismissed after six months. The company paid him only one week’s notice. The court subsequently found that, at his age and considering the availability of similar jobs, he was entitled to six months’ notice with pay because he was induced away from his former position and because of the limited availability of alternate employment.
This is only one example of how inducement may affect the severance owed to terminated employees. Employers in British Columbia who consider inducing workers from well-paying jobs may benefit from a consultation with an employment law lawyer to learn about the intricacies of applicable laws and the best strategies for recruiting employees from other employers. An employer may then avoid legal action in the future. The lawyer can also assist with drafting unique employment contracts to accommodate any perquisites that are different from the company’s standard agreements.