What legal recourse do I have to collect unemployment?

I signed on with a company 8 months ago in a position that had a guaranteed salary and commission. Last week I was told that after this week I would be strictly on commission. The paperwork I signed clearly states that I have the option to stay salary. Here is a paragraph from the original paperwork I signed, “Compensation will be salary plus commission through the training period. At the time of advancement and territory assignment, the employee will have the option of continuing salary on a quarterly basis or immediately full commission”.

Asked on November 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your recourse is really going to depend on what the rest of the document sets out.  If the document is officially an employment contract, not just a letter offer, then you may be able to file a lawsuit for the breach of an employment contract.  If the document is just an offer letter, then it will be a bit trickier to enforce.  If enough terms are involved to get the offer letter deemed an employment contract, then you could file a lawsuit for breach of contract.  If the offer letter only sets out the expectations for an at-will employment situation, then it probably cannot be enforced as a contract.  However, other options may be available.  Because Texas is an at-will employment state, an employer and employee can renegotiate the terms of employment on a regular basis and go up or down.  If the level of payment is so substantially reduced, it could possibly qualify for unemployment... but the decrease in pay has to be such a significant drop that it essentially constitutes a termination.  Considering that you are still being authorized to work full-time and receive payment for full-time work, collecting unemployment is going to be hard.  Take your document (or any documents that discuss employment terms) to an employment law attorney so you can receive more specific information on how the document will affect your right to file a breach on contract claim.


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