Q. As a large retail business, we employ several “demo staffers” who present products to shoppers in the hope they'll buy them. Recently, given economic pressures, we've had to put increasing pressure on our demo staff to increase sales up to 200 percent. If a demo staffer doesn't meet the new goal, can we terminate her? Do these workers have legal recourse should they be fired? —T.P., California
A. Assuming there's no employment contract, there is nothing to stop an employer from unilaterally altering an employee's terms and conditions of employment, as long as it's for nondiscriminatory reasons. From a HR perspective, increasing a sales quota up to 200 percent may mean employees have little chance to meet the new goal. Plus, it's likely to sink employee morale. Bottom line: Even if it's legal to make such demands, it's not always in your best interest.
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