“In Any Capacity” Are Fee-Collecting Magic Words

Editor’s note: Jeff Allen has heard every employer excuse that you can imagine for not paying up — and dozens more that defy imagination. Over the last 18 months, he’s documented one a week. Because of the importance of collections, Fordyce will periodically reprise the most common situations he addressed. The complete collection is here.

What Client Says:

We changed the candidate’s job title.

How Client Pays:

This caper is different from changing the classification and position, because the formal organization structure remains intact.  No new title is actually plugged in.

The captive candidate is simply giving us a “working,” “functional,” or informal” title that is proudly printed on his or her business cards.  In some cases, it’s even printed on engraved letterhead (“The Office of the ______________”).

As with actually hiring him or her in a different position, you need to unlock yourself from that job order title.  Your fee schedule is the logical place to do it. “In any capacity” are the logical words.

Beware of job titles tucked away in employer-generated PSA’s (placement service agreements).  This is a common trick of employer lawyers.  Then somewhere in another section of the PSA, there will be a condition (requirement) that states you only get paid if the candidate is hired in that specific job. 

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If you’re given a title-specific PSA, it is absolutely imperative that you include words like “or similar position” so you’re protected.

The candidate’s business card or letterhead with another title isn’t evidence for the client.  It’s convincing evidence for you!

Judges know the legal maxim, “Look past the form to the fact.”  Set up the documentation correctly, and you’ll get paid.

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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