March 5, 2010 — In part one I mentioned the ‘working’ relationship between marketing/sales reps and TS developers and how all reps can provide themselves some additional ‘job’ security and protection regardless if the ‘agents’ are classified as employees or 1099 Independent Contractors (IC).
As a brief preface to that relationship, the recent debacle between Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno over NBC’s ‘The Tonight Show’ that airs M-F at 11:35 P.M. would be a good place to begin…
Some of the reports that I found applicable to the TS business were of O’Brien basically being fired through no apparent fault of his own, yet because he had some great attorneys in his corner and he took on a Goliath, his ‘pain and suffering’ was eased with a nice little ‘pop’ of around $40,000,000 after working only 7 months as the host of the popular TV show.
First, to put that $40 Million into perspective and using the ‘average’ annual income of ‘working’ Americans (about $50-K) that means that one hard working stiff would have to labor for 800 years to earn what Conan scooped up for 7 months on the ‘job’ (and moving from one coast to the other etc.) from what likely amounted to a ‘breach of contract’ issue…
As I thought about ‘breach of contract’ situations I found myself pondering how often, on a collective basis, marketing and sales agents in the TS business have endured ‘breaches’ over the years. I concluded that it is ubiquitous, to put it mildly.
Fully acknowledging that the law is complicated and that Attorney opinions vary, the fact of the matter is that all developers and their marketing/sales ‘employees’ and/or ICs are subject to the same laws, provisions and protections that O’Brien (and everyone else) enjoys.
Hence, because ‘breaches’ are so pervasive in this business it might not be a bad idea for every ‘agent’ to retain an Attorney for the purpose of protecting the rep’s interests (aka: livelihood, position, promotions, futures, etc.) should a situation develop that requires intervention.
I fully understand that retaining a good Attorney will cost more than a few dollars but then again, there are those legal ‘clubs’ reps can join and for about $20 (a month) that membership will provide at least a basic form of peace of mind, protection and security from any potential ‘wrong-doings’
It should be noted that in the timeshare world, most often, it is not the developer who may be breaching the terms and conditions of a contract (written or oral) or working ‘relationship’. Rather, it is typically the developer’s lower, middle and upper management who infringe.
I am not suggesting using a law firm for inconsequential issues but there are times when it is fitting, proper and businesslike to have a lawyer call up (or write a letter to) ‘management’ (or the developer) on a rep’s behalf and make an inquiry. Often, just that call (or letter) will stop an action or situation from occurring or worsening.
At the end of the day, whether working in marketing and/or sales as an ‘employee’ or IC, all reps would be well served by following the Conan example should a ‘situation’ arise and although they’ll likely never see a $40 Million out-of-court settlement, reps with protection could very well be compensated handsomely by having an aggressive advocate in their corner.
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