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A.Northbert

Mandating Employees to Perform Aggressive Marketing

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Context:

I work for a furniture retailer and sales have been a bit flat for the last year or so. As a response, our employer has been sending us "Daily Quizzes" in our emails that are "due" by the close of business. They are typically questions about our pricing and the specs in our merch, innocently annoying things that we can roll our eyes at and move on. However, other times they are things like this (I have placed my key concerns in bold, underline, and italics:

 

Today's Email:

Team,  Please find below our daily quiz please respond back to [Store Owner] by 6pm this evening and those of you not working please complete on next day worked.

 
Regards,
 
[Management]
 
Associate Quiz
April 13, 2019

Only 2 days left to vote for [Local News Paper] Best Of 2019...
PLEASE VOTE!
Encourage your friends and family to vote as well as customers. Remember, from as many email addresses as you or any of them have.

Please call the following competitors.
REMEMBER.....
Use your cell phone for making these phone calls Do Not Call from [Our Stores Name] land line!!!

[Competitor 1]
[Competitor 2]
[Competitor 3]
[Competitor 4]

Ask them the following questions:

What specials are you currently running?

Do you carry all of your mattresses in stock? How about cal or eastern king?

Do you deliver to [A Town Out In The Boonies] if so, what is the fee?

What are the brand name of the mattresses you sell?

What is your least expensive queen set?

What is your least expensive king set?

Find out who is selling the Simmons Beautyrest black and do they have the new floor samples on the floor yet? As well as the new Serta I comfort.

Is [Competitor 3] still carrying Chatham and wells? What are the prices and how many models are on the floor?

What is our least expensive twin/full/queen/king set? Who is the manufacture and what is the name of the bed?

I would like a paragraph explaining your customer service experience on the phone with each of our competitors listed above. Good or bad I would like you to tell me how the phone conversations went.

Have a great sales day!  
 

Explanation:
Our sales team consists of five people. That is five people calling four stores and asking the same questions five times. This is harassment and it's creating a toxic environment among the staff as we all express our grievances over being forced to perform such a task.
 
Our complaints with this email, and all others like it, are as follows:
  • They mandate that we use our personal phones that they in no way pay for
  • They mandate that we use our personal email addresses to vote for them as the best store in their category
  • They force us to go against our moral instincts and harrass people performing the same job as us
  • We empathise with the frustrations of our counter parts and lament how infuriated we would all be if the tables were flipped
  • We've done this so many times now that our competitors have started asking if we're from [Our Company] and then hang up on us
  • We know that management would be irate if the tables were reversed and Competitor 1 - 4 started calling us
  • We've been scolded on allowing people we were sure were customers shop us and were given lectures on how to spot "those people"

 

My questions are now these:

  • Is any of this legal?
  • Are there any links that someone can share with me that I might use in an organized response explaining why this format of quiz needs to come to an end?
  • Does anyone have a link to the laws revolving around the mandated use of personal cell phones for a job (e.g. Using an app to clock in to/out of work / Being on call / Texting sales updates at close of business / Harassing the competition /etc)?

 

Thank you so much for any information you might be able to share, 

 

- A. Northbert

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2 hours ago, A.Northbert said:

They mandate that we use our personal phones that they in no way pay for

 

Say "No."

 

2 hours ago, A.Northbert said:

They mandate that we use our personal email addresses to vote for them as the best store in their category

 

Say "No"

 

2 hours ago, A.Northbert said:

They force us to go against our moral instincts and harrass people performing the same job as us

 

Nobody's putting a gun to your head.

 

2 hours ago, A.Northbert said:

We empathise with the frustrations of our counter parts and lament how infuriated we would all be if the tables were flipped

 

That, and 5 bucks, gets you coffee at Starbucks.

 

2 hours ago, A.Northbert said:

We've done this so many times now that our competitors have started asking if we're from [Our Company] and then hang up on us

 

Good for them. Report that to your boss.

 

2 hours ago, A.Northbert said:

We know that management would be irate if the tables were reversed and Competitor 1 - 4 started calling us

 

See the Starbucks comment.

 

2 hours ago, A.Northbert said:

We've been scolded on allowing people we were sure were customers shop us and were given lectures on how to spot "those people"

 

OK, let's cut to the chase. You and your fellow employees are afraid to say 'No" to your boss because you fear losing your jobs. Well, as long as you all feel that way, he rules.

 

2 hours ago, A.Northbert said:

Is any of this legal?

 

It's all legal.

 

2 hours ago, A.Northbert said:

Are there any links that someone can share with me that I might use in an organized response explaining why this format of quiz needs to come to an end?

Does anyone have a link to the laws revolving around the mandated use of personal cell phones for a job (e.g. Using an app to clock in to/out of work / Being on call / Texting sales updates at close of business / Harassing the competition /etc)?

 

No. There isn't anything you can present to your boss that will stop him.

 

The only thing that will stop him is you saying "No."

 

 

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The employer must pay you for all the time you work. Under California law, the employer must reimburse you for all expenses you incur in doing your work. Apart from that, I see nothing in your post that is illegal. What the employer is asking for may be annoying, frustrating, and pointless for you to do, and seems to me to be poor management. Unfortunately for you though, poor management is not illegal.

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