Cumulus Encouraging Free Overtime

A fired Cumulus worker is providing new evidence that Cumulus corporate leaders are thinly disguising terms such as “if you cannot do the bare minimum you cannot be part of the team” for pleas to work overtime for free.

Some workers are taking this to mean work overtime or else.

One recently departed Cumulus employee who received an email from Cumulus exec Mark Sullivan for “leaving early” on a Friday ties in the poor use of human relations with a bad memory for all the time this employee put in arriving early for work.

It is significant because Cumulus now finds itself the target of a Class Action lawsuit that has picked up support from other employees with regard to state employment law violations.

Have you noticed that not one radio trade publication has carried the news of the Cumulus law suit which was filed in Alameda County, California within the month. Certainly it is important to the real radio industry -- its people.

The email from Sullivan was sent to a Cumulus sales rep who was then fired.

Here are some excerpts in italics with my observations:

“Our company has a standard sales operating system that requires that we make collection calls and market you and our brands to our prospects and clients on Friday afternoons after our one on one meeting”.

Oh boy, we burden you with meetings on our time and make you do the work we are requiring on your time.

“I put together a “marketing workshop” to try to make it fun for everyone and I gave you the assignment of mailing one “marketing tube” to one of your prospects. This was not done on Friday as requested. Frankly, we are to be marketing to all of our clients/prospects every Friday, but nevertheless I thought that asking for everyone to send one tube was a simple request”.

Did Sully say “fun” – that’s not how attendees typically describe these meetings.

“You explained that there was a misunderstanding between you and (name redacted for his protection) wherein you felt that he gave you permission to leave early. Either way, it wasn’t his call to make”.

Wasn’t his call to make?

Who is in charge at local markets?


“We have minimum standards in our company and those minimum standards are working from 8:30 – 5:30 daily (8:00am on Mondays) and following the CSOS schedule and action plan”.

This is the flamethrower.

If minimum standards are 8:30 to 5:30 and keep in mind here that the issue that got this employee fired was leaving “early” Friday night, it seems to be a corporate admission that wink/wink you’d better work later if you want to exceed minimum standards as they seem to be pleading.

In any case, without defining the opposite of “minimum standards”, Sullivan has potentially given the impression (perhaps to a court) that overtime is a requirement for continued employment. And if you’re a sales rep, you’re not being paid hourly.

The question is -- should their sales reps be paid by the hour?

”When you made the request to move from (redacted), you cited your familiarity with the format and the number of great contacts and prospects that you have. We agreed with you that it was a good move for everyone and at the time we put together goals that are more than fair based on your experience and tenure with us. During these meetings we discussed the importance and requirement that you meet your goals in January and beyond or that your employment will be terminated”.

Man, that’s mean.

"As I told you this morning, if you cannot do the bare minimum you cannot be part of the team. The bare minimum is following the operating system and achieving your goals”.

There’s that “bare minimum” again.

Does Sullivan mean “bare minimum” is the amount of money they’ll wind up with once their employees work 80 hours a week instead of 40 or does it mean the company expects doing whatever it takes to generate sales?

And speaking of that…

”I also told you that the way out is through. What I mean by that, is that the way out of the situation is through sales and those sales will only come by making a committed effort every day to do everything you can. Leaving early and not meeting bare minimum requirements is not acceptable”.

Again, leaving early is Sullivan's fixation here. The employee in question also arrived at work early.

If state law defines these sales reps as inside sales people, Cumulus may have a lot of back pay to make up to everyone.

Quick, warn the new Cumulus hires from Cintas who don’t know what the “bare minimum” is.

"You know that I am here to help, as I have offered countless times.

Please work closely with (name redacted) as we are already into the third week of the month and you have a long way to go to achieve your goal”.

Another veiled threat?

“You have a long way to go to achieve your goal”.

So what are you really saying, Mr. Sullivan?

Go home “early” means never having to get paid overtime. There are employment laws that govern this.

This disgraceful email was signed by Mark Sullivan, GM of Cumulus Nashville.

Cumulus is arguably giving the impression that invoke the term “bare minimum” it means work over 40 hours at no additional compensation. (Betcha legal will advise Cumulus to stop using the term now -- let's see).

As the fired Cumulus employee puts it:

“My last pay check was $800.00. So while they are recruiting those ‘new PROFESSIONAL sales people’, they (sic) may want to let them know that they will have to pay for all expenses, work 80 hours a week for $800.00 every two weeks!"

$5 dollars an hour!

For those of you who would prefer to get Jerry's daily posts by email for FREE, please click here. Then look for a verifying email from FeedBurner to start service.
Thanks for forwarding my pieces to your friends and linking to your websites and boards.