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Can I quit and recieve unemployment due to recurring pay cuts in a sales position?

by Matthew N
(Port Jefferson, NY)

I was hired by a brokerage company in NY as a financial advisor trainee. I was hired at a pay rate of 36,000. However, after my training I was placed on a descending salary designed to allow me to slowly transition to a commission basis. However, the economy dived as this transition was taking place.


January first was my first day of production, the day I took a 25% pay cut and the day I changed from a qualified employee to an nonqualified. My entire "class" of trainees went from 100 to 30 due to the market conditions. It is nearly impossible to make any sales. Now 6 months in to the nonqualified pay scale I am about to be cut to 50% or 18,000 per year. I can no longer afford to live!

To top it all off I am losing my cheap rent place of residence. This may very well mean I will have to move home with mom and dad or take a place paying at least 1000 a month (9,000 over the next 6 months means I'm already going to starve to death). Can I quit and collect unemployment?

To add, it is illegal in NY State for an employer to demand you work over time and refuse to pay you for it. Since I was a qualified employee when this began then they were in violation of the law. I still work tons of hours for no money (10 - 12 per day and weekends). I am being driven into the ground and I need to move on... but with no job or unemployment I will surely starve. What to do?






Hi Matthew,

I don't really know for sure .. but I'm willing to do some looking into it.

I'm going to start with the NY Interpretation Index.

I suggest you look there also since you have intimate knowledge of your situation.

One thing I want to point out, that is, or could be a problem. You were well aware of of how the pay was structured from the beginning.

I understand it is the current economy, but is there anything the employer is failing to do that would have a direct effect on your commissions?

Such as the amount of leads they claim to guarantee .. or something they are suppose to do that is designed to help you meet goals?

I don't think the overtime is an issue if you are salaried and exempt from overtime wages being paid.

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