“Fee’s Too High” Is No Defense When You Have a Contract

Editor’s note: Jeff Allen has heard every employer excuse you can imagine for not paying up — and dozens more that defy imagination. A few years ago he began documenting them in a weekly collections column. Because of the importance of collections, Fordyce will periodically reprise the most common situations he addressed. The complete collection is here.

What Client Says:

The fee’s too high.

How Client Pays:

Recruiters laugh or get angry at the “fee’s too high” position. But courts will arbitrarily reduce placement fees in the name of equity (fairness) unless there is a written, signed, or otherwise fully accepted contract introduced into evidence.

The reason for judicial fee reductions is the mindset of judges and juries. The vast majority of judges were “low-billers” when they practiced law. They’re security-conscious, status-conscious, conservative types who have opted for the benefits of government work.

Juries are usually blue-collar types. If they’re employed, their employer is paying for their jury duty. If not, they’re either unemployed or retired. Like judges, they’re not risk-takers, and certainly don’t understand why five-figure placement fees are such a bargain.

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If you’re gonna laugh, laugh last.

And don’t get angry, get even. Get paid – in full.

More than thirty-five years ago, Jeffrey G. Allen, J.D., C.P.C. turned a decade of recruiting and human resources management into the legal specialty of placement law. Since 1975, Jeff has collected more placement fees, litigated more trade secrets cases, and assisted more placement practitioners than anyone else. From individuals to multinational corporations in every phase of staffing, his name is synonymous with competent legal representation. Jeff holds four certifications in placement and is the author of 24 popular books in the career field, including bestsellers How to Turn an Interview into a Job, The Complete Q&A Job Interview Book and the revolutionary Instant Interviews. As the world?s leading placement lawyer, Jeff?s experience includes: Thirty-five years of law practice specializing in representation of staffing businesses and practitioners; Author of ?The Allen Law?--the only placement information trade secrets law in the United States; Expert witness on employment and placement matters; Recruiter and staffing service office manager; Human resources manager for major employers; Certified Personnel Consultant, Certified Placement Counselor, Certified Employment Specialist and Certified Search Specialist designations; Cofounder of the national Certified Search Specialist program; Special Advisor to the American Employment Association; General Counsel to the California Association of Personnel Consultants (honorary lifetime membership conferred); Founder and Director of the National Placement Law Center; Recipient of the Staffing Industry Lifetime Achievement Award; Advisor to national, regional and state trade associations on legal, ethics and legislative matters; Author of The Placement Strategy Handbook, Placement Management, The National Placement Law Center Fee Collection Guide and The Best of Jeff Allen, published by Search Research Institute exclusively for the staffing industry; and Producer of the EMPLAW Audio Series on employment law matters. Email him at jeff@placementlaw.com.


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