I am now at the conclusion of a battle with a former pharmaceutical employer with whom I was laid off in April as a sales representative. The issue started in February when they announced that they would be withholding future commissions in 2016 due to what they claimed as an "overpayment" of my commissions back on Q3 of 2015 in the amount of $15,700. My displeasure with the alleged overpayment (clawback) announcement led me to seek an employment attorney. An attorney friend of mine referred me to Rob.
In February, I met with Rob for a consultation, which felt very much like going to a counselor...very therapeutic, but with both practical and legal advice. No action was taken with my then current employer at that time. I decided to keep working hard and look for another job at the same time, before deductions were taken from future commissions earned.
Unfortunately, in April, I was terminated and was given a one month severance package. I then met with Rob again and we formulated a plan to: 1) prevent them from collecting on the alleged overpayment, 2) ensure they didn't keep my Q1 commissions as they stated they were going to, 3) ask for more months of severance pay and COBRA, and 4) pay me my unused vacation that was rolled over from 2015.
The entire process starting from when the initial demand letter was sent by Rob to my old employer at the end of April, then several back and forth negotiations between Rob and my former employer, and finally my signing the final agreement, took 8 weeks. It then took one month to get paid by my former employer (3 months total before I was paid).
In summary, I was initially offered one month salary plus COBRA totaling $11,000 and the end result was:
1) three months salary, 2) forgiveness of the alleged commission "overpayment" of $15,700 in 2015, 3) payment of my Q1 commissions 4) three months of paid COBRA, and 5) payment of unused vacation. The overall severance value went from being initially one month salary of $11,000 PLUS a bill from my old company for the $15,700 alleged commission overpayment, to a severance package amounting to $65,400 (I don't have to repay $15,700 so I included ran as a gain in that total). The government took 33% in taxes, unfortunately.
This was a very stressful time for me as a single mother of two boys (one of whom I support at Texas Tech). Most employees would have taken the initial severance offer, but the 3 month turn around time to negotiate a counter offer gained me essentially, $54,400. Rob did a great job crafting a deal with a very complicated scenario, with a company with ruthless business ethics that is also going bankrupt. The fact that Rob was able to get this kind of company to pay out this amount of money is outstanding...a feet I doubt many attorneys could accomplish without going to court. Today was the last day of this battle for me since I was just paid. Unfortunately, it is the beginning of a battle for another friend of mine that was just laid off and whom I have referred to Rob. I highly recommend Rob and will be using him to negotiate a proactive employment contract for me once I am able to secure a job offer from another employer. Best of luck everyone.