“Sales Reps” and Merchandisers
Food and beverage suppliers often employ workers to make sure the supplier’s product is on the chain store shelves (such as Walmart, Target, Kroger) and in the correction locations. Some of the workers may be considered “sales reps” and others are merchandisers. One common model is Direct Store Delivery, or DSD. Here the supplier ships its products to a distribution center, someone orders additional product to replenish the store’s supply, and the product is delivered to the store. The supplier is then responsible to make sure the product gets from the back room to the store’s shelves and displays.
The “sales rep” is then responsible to make sure the store has enough product in the store, order additional product for store when supply runs low or if there’s an upcoming promotion, and confirm that any displays are in the correct locations. They may also perform a lot of merchandising duties.
“Sales reps” may be paid a salary, commissions, or bonuses. And even though the “sales rep” works 50, 60, or 80 hours a week, the supplier doesn’t pay overtime wages. Because these suppliers treat their workers as “outside sales” exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and refuse to pay overtime wages, the suppliers have an incentive to work the employees as much as possible. Getman, Sweeney & Dunn believes that many “sales reps” who visit chain stores in DSD model are entitled to overtime wages because they do not actually “sell” within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Merchandisers are often paid by the hour, and they may receive bonuses. However, suppliers may not pay merchandisers for all the hours they worked. For example, merchandisers may do some work at home in order to prepare for the upcoming work day, but that time is unpaid. Suppliers may also not reimburse merchandiser for business expenses like mileage for travel between stores. This failure causes the merchandiser to receive less than the promised wages, and could result in minimum or overtime pay violations. Further, if merchandisers are paid bonuses and work overtime, those bonuses may have to be included in the overtime pay calculation. The failure to include bonuses in the overtime pay calculation may result in an overtime violation.
Contact Getman, Sweeney & Dunn if you worked in-store in a DSD position as a “sales rep” or merchandiser. We would like to speak with us about whether you were paid all wages you were owed, please contact us or send us the information needed by filling out the Industry Inquiry form.
If you work in this industry and would like to speak with us about whether you were paid all wages you were owed, please send us the information needed by filling out the Industry Inquiry form.