Can an employer cut my commission check because I didn’t follow a request?

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Can an employer cut my commission check because I didn’t follow a request?

Was asked to keep quiet about a personal situation. The penalty was not in writing.

Asked on April 4, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you had already earned that check, then no, the employer can't cut the check; once you've done the work, you have to be paid according to the terms then in place. However, if this was a "forward-looking" check--i.e. a check not yet earned--then the employer may alter your commission, plan, etc., including for not keeping quiet about a personal situation, so long as you did not have a contract. If you had a contract (sales agreement, written commission plan, etc.), then if that document locks in your commission, restricts the grounds or times it can be changed, etc., those terms need to be honored. But without a contract, etc. protecting your commission, unearned commissions or your commission rate may be changed by the employer.


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