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I work in sales. Every time customer makes a purchase I have to ask if the customer would like an electronic receipt. Most customers do not want it, and as a result I have only taken 10% of email addresses from 2000 transactions in the last month since I can't force a customer to take the electronic receipt.

This morning my manager pulled me into the office and said that she is warning me because I have not achieved 25% of electronic receipts last month and if this happens again she will be forced to hand me a P45 tax form. In the UK you get a P45 when you leave your job or when you get fired. So my manager saying she would give me a P45 was basically her saying she will fire me.

Now I am wondering, was my boss out of line as I never signed anything about this and it's also not mentioned in my contract? I did not want to say anything as being honest I have been quite emotional from this threat and I don't know if there is anything I can do.

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    Ask her what you should do if the customer doesn't want the electronic receipt. If she doesn't give any reasonable options, ask her how firing you and getting someone else would help her solve the issue (I. E. Not enough data harvested) – Bwmat May 9 at 22:49
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    Are there other workers in your position? What's their harvest %, and how do they do it? – VWFeature May 9 at 23:33
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    I stopped going to an electronics store because the sales people and cashiers wasted my time pushing me to buy extended warranties, even after I said "No, thanks.". Anything beyond "Would you like me to e-mail your receipt?" and I would soon stop shopping there. You might point out the risk to future business of pressing too hard. – Patricia Shanahan May 10 at 0:32
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    How long have you worked for the company? Your rights vary quite a bit depending on the length of employment. – P. Hopkinson May 10 at 8:45
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    Is there any perk for providing an email address? Can they sign up for a rewards account? will they get notified of sales? Anything like that will entice more people to provide an email address. – mkennedy May 10 at 18:02
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In the UK, a P45 is a document an employee is given when leaving a job or being fired (for those who missed the explanation in the comments. For US readers, this is not "pink slip", but a final payslip; the termination is implicit).

You're basically in sales and you're not meeting targets, so, yes, you can be fired for this. It's harsh and unfair, but that's how it is.

Another commenter suggested pointing out the opportunity cost of enforcing this (i.e. losing future business of customers who find being pestered for details irritating). I think your argument will fail, as your manager probably also has targets.

Sorry, Virshdee. Meet those targets or look for another job.

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    This is a very realistic and sensible answer but it doesn't tell the full story. If you were to actually get fired then there may be a case for constructive dismissal depending on the circumstances (you want to avoid this if at all possible though, it isn't a particularly nice or lucrative process). – P. Hopkinson May 10 at 8:50
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    If I have to write my email address then it is often total_idiot@dev_null.com because having companies fill my inbox with spam is something I avoid. – Solar Mike May 10 at 8:55
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    I just say "no" repeatedly, unless it's a company I want to pick a fight with, in which case I invent a fictitious middle name or initial and wait for them to spam it, at which point I write to head office citing Data Protection complaints. – Justin May 10 at 9:07
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    @P.Hopkinson - you're correct. I left a lot of that stuff out because I didn't think it relevant to the stated problem. It's the sort of thing that comes up occasionally as responses to other questions. In this instance, I don't believe there is a case for constructive dismissal (or unfair dismissal, which is more common). – Justin May 10 at 9:10
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    This is overall a good answer, but your statement about a P45 being your final payslip is inaccurate. A P45 is a document you give to your subsequent employer in order to calculate your tax band accurately for payroll. – Sam Lee May 10 at 21:28
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First up you have my sympathies - it's a stupid thing to metric employees' performance on since you can't force customers to provide their address when making a purchase (and I'm one of those customers who doesn't give it!), fair enough if you weren't asking the customer for it but it sounds like you are.

Unfortunately though it is something that they can choose as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) and if you don't meet it they can let you go. It's not fair, it's not right but it is what it is. Probably the best strategy at this point is to keep doing what you can in your current job and start hunting for a job somewhere else (preferably somewhere that doesn't have such a stupid policy in place).

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Yes, except in very specific employment situations, employers may fire you for not meeting defined targets of the job. They have clearly expressed that you need to gather 25% of customers' emails, so that's one of the things they expect you to do in that position to keep it.

So you need to get your percentage up. This is an opportunity to improve.

  1. Ask your boss. Roleplay with her. "I ask them like this and they say no... How can I get more of them to say yes?"
  2. Ask and/or observe other employees. They're hitting their target unless they're all getting fired too. How are they doing it?
  3. You can use the Internet. Why, you could ask "how to get more customers to give you their email address" here. You could read one of the many online articles about that same thing.

It sucks, but instead of focusing on how to get out of it, you need to focus on how to hit that 25% number. You will succeed in the workplace by understanding what's required of you and focusing on exceeding those expectations.

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This morning my manager pulled me into the office and said that she is warning me because I have not achieved 25% of electronic receipts last month and if this happens again she will be forced to hand me a P45 tax form.

Yup, she's saying she'll fire you if you don't meet a 25% target. Perhaps she feels that you should be more "persuasive" in offering email receipts, or you're not actually asking everyone.

She's well within her rights to do this (unfortunately), however unfair it is.

If you feel that target is unrealistic, then it may be worth looking for employment elsewhere now rather than waiting to be let go at a later date.

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I know what I would do if harassing our clients in this fashion was one of my key performance indicators.

I would thoroughly research "free disposable temporary email services" and develop methods for quickly generating new addresses on the fly. Then, when any customer declines to provide his contact information, I'd simply create and enter a "courtesy email addresses" for him.

I would also be careful not to let my numbers jump too suddenly, or grow too high, lest my employers become suspicious. Perhaps I would hit 24% next month, then hover around 30%..35% thereafter.

There are those who would chastise me for such a deceptive approach to this problem, but none of them are willing to lend me next month's rent when I lose my position, so their moral authority is limited.

  • How about "Donald_Duck@quack.com"? :) – Solar Mike May 11 at 15:50
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    @Solar Mike: That is easily recognizable as a fake address. The point of researching the services and developing some generation methods is to produce courtesy addresses that look plausible. - If you enter "Donald_Duck@quack.com" the boss will say "Why did you let the customer give you an obviously fake address?" but if you enter "Hugh_Chamois@maildrop.cc" it will probably pass unnoticed. – A. I. Breveleri May 11 at 15:59
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    This is bad advice and will also get you fired – bruglesco May 11 at 15:59
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    So you feel that if people aren't willing to give you money, then committing fraud is justified? – bruglesco May 11 at 16:05

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