Avoid Trouble. Eliminate Those Too Big Marketing Claims

Jeff Allen Collection TipEditor’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.

What Client Says:

You didn’t check references.

How Client Pays:

It usually happens like most placements — no documents back from the client. Who cares? The hiring authority is returning your calls, interviewing, and even expressing interest. Would the client like you check references? “No thanks. We do that ourselves.”

Then there’s a hire, and you think it’s a placement. But you’re arguing “a five-figure fee for a phone call.” It’s a good argument, since a placement fee is a finder’s fee. It would be an even better argument if you didn’t overstate your “consultant” role in your written materials. Or that you only refer “qualified” candidates.

It gets worse. Do you write that you “screen,” “check,” and “verify”? Carefully?

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These words move you away from a finder’s fee — a bounty – and impose additional conditions on your right to claim it. In fact, as part of common law (original, judge-made law) contract pleadings, you must state on the complaint:

Plaintiff has performed all acts to be performed, and otherwise complied fully with all terms, covenants and conditions set forth in the agreement between the parties, and is entitled to the full placement fee herein.

The best way to avoid the defense that you didn’t check references (and a host of related “didn’t do enough” defenses) is to go through your fee schedule and eliminate any marketing overstatements.

Please do that now. This nonsense is so easy to avoid!

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.