I am a pet groomer paid by commission only. My employer want me to start arriving at the clinic 30 minutes before we open. I have nothing to do during that time, and so I sit there for free. I don't mind cleaning up after myself, even though I don't get paid for it, but sitting around with nothing to do seems kinda silly.

I am also required to assist the hourly employees as requested, which means not only am I working for free, but I can't groom dogs (earn money) while I'm helping them. They are also requiring me to do paperwork and record keeping that only kinda relate to my job, all for free.

They have told me that if I want an assistant, I will have to hire and pay them myself - as in under the table and no workers compensation.

Is any of this worth arguing about, or should I just find another job?

Edit: I am in the state of Georgia, which is an at-will state. I am a W-4 employee, with a small benifits package. I earn commission only on the pets that I groom, not hourly wage or salary.

I would love to be able to stay with the clientele base that I have worked for, but I have signed a non-compete contract, so if I leave, I'll never be able to see these pets again.

closed as off-topic by Michael Grubey, Rory Alsop, nvoigt, gnat, Myles Aug 25 '17 at 17:33

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  • 4
    Well a job is an offer, unless you are made to perform by someone pointing a gun to you. You can accept and you can reject. If you don't like it, don't argue; simply walk away. – mandy Aug 25 '17 at 2:33
  • 4
    Start with just refusing to do what you are not paid a commission. – paparazzo Aug 25 '17 at 3:09
  • 1
    Refuse to do that. If they want to lock you out of the store, that's their prerogative. Don't let yourself get exploited like that. If you give in now, it will be something else in a couple of weeks. Some people just take and take until you say 'no'. It's really not worth working for that kind of person. – Stephan Branczyk Aug 25 '17 at 5:07
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    How to politely turn down a task that is beyond the scope of my job description? is related, although probably not a duplicate due to you being paid in commission. – Dukeling Aug 25 '17 at 7:09
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    @Erik In the US, at least, the level of direction the OP is getting from the employer might make the OP a non-exempt employee, not a contractor, with formidable minimum wage and overtime rights. – Patricia Shanahan Aug 25 '17 at 9:33

Is any of this worth arguing about, or should I just find another job?

You should try first to explain this situation to your employer, just like you did here, so there is a chance you get what you want. Tell him/her that as you work on commission only having to assist other coworkers greatly affects your income in a negative way.

If they don't change their mind you would probably be better finding a new job, as this situation clearly has no benefit for you.


Schemes like these are morally wrong, but they exist in many forms.

It doesn't help you if we tell you whether we think it's legal, because that doesn't explain what you can actually do against it other than quitting or get yourself fired. What you need to know is the full list of legal possibilities given your contract, which is legal advice and off topic, but might be on topic at https://law.stackexchange.com/.

Speaking of legal advice, non-compete clauses are rarely binding (they prevent people from working, which is bad for the economy), but it does depend on the exact wording of the clause and the jurisdiction.

Regarding the "under the table" part: If you do this you very likely expose yourself to blackmail.

  • These are not only morally wrong, they SHOULD be illegal too. We are not talking about a waitress scenario, but pure commission. – Mister Positive Aug 25 '17 at 16:29

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