What should I do if I was hired 2 months ago as an outside catering sales rep for a local restaurant but have not been paid a promised commission?

When I was given the position, I was promised so much and hour, plus 15% commission, gas reimbursement and all that jazz. I just sold 2 very large catering orders and when I asked about my commission, my manager told me that they are still working out the details of my position (it’s a new position), and that I would not be getting commission on these jobs. She said that hopefully down the line commission can be incorporated into the job. She also said I would not be working in the restaurant, and she now has me prepping, preparing and delivering food. I have not been trained on any of it.

Asked on October 30, 2014 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

Ling Dai / The Dai Law Firm, PLLC

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

I largely agree with the previous answer. one note I would like to add is that if your employment term is one year or above, your claims may be barred by statute of frauds.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the restaurant for breach of contract for not honoring their agreement to pay you the commission. (Suing is the only way to try to compel payment if they won't pay voluntarily.) Even if it was an oral (non-written) agreement, it is enforceable, though obviously, proving its existence and its terms can be more difficult, since you have to rely on testimony, not writing/documents, especially if the other side doesn't remember things the way you do.

However, while you can enforce an oral agreement as to work already done pursuant to it (i.e. for the commissions), without a written employment contract, employment is employment at will, so going forward, they can change your pay, your responsibilities (i.e. have you work in the restaurant), etc. Oral employment agreements are enforceable as to what you have already done before being told of a change in employment, but do not restrict change.


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