What can I do if my employer required employees to sign a 1 year contract and withheld my commissions until I did?

I recently was offered a full-time position at a job where I had been working as a temp. I was told that I had to sign a 1 year contract with the company before I would begin accumulating commissions for up-selling customers. I put off signing this contract for 3 months because it just didn’t seem right. The company has just been mismanaged and is a real mess and now as I’m planning to leave the company I find out that the corporate didn’t require this. The managers of my department wrote up a contract because they wanted to lower the department turn around. Several managers have even been fired over doing this. I lost 3 months commission over not signing a contract that was apparently not a condition of employment. Do I have any recourse?

Asked on June 2, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Actually, if your manager required the contract, it was a condition of employment, even if corporate didn't require or want it: your manager(s) can set the terms and conditions of your employment. If the manager violated company policy, he can be disciplined or terminated for that--but it doesn't change the fact that his policy still stood as to you. The manager's subsequent punishment does not legally entitle you to the extra commissions--though, of course, corporate could choose to voluntarily pay you those amounts.

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