Can my employer withhold my earned commission based on a “call quality” score?

UPDATED: Aug 24, 2011

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Can my employer withhold my earned commission based on a “call quality” score?

I earn a certain amount for ever sale, yet, they hold my commission ever single month because my call quality is “too low”. I have brought to my boss’s attention the math is wrong, but they make excuses. What can I do?

Asked on August 24, 2011 Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The first issue is, what are the terms or agreement under which you work? If the terms were that your commission may be reduced according to "call quality," then this could be legal. However, if those are not the actual terms under which you work, the company may not reduce your commission for it unless and until they tell you those are are the terms--at which point you have the choice of accepting them or looking for a different job.

The second issue is, whatever the terms are, they have to apply correctly--so if, for example, your pay is subject to reduction for call quality, there must be documentation, some metric, some verifiable calculations, etc.--it can't be just at the whim of your employer.

Note that there terms under which you work can be found in oral or verbal agreements, or in the demonstrated course of dealing between you and your employer; it doesn't have to be in a written contract or agreement.

Long answer short: if applied with notice, consistently, and accurately, this policy may be legal. Without notice or applied arbitrarily, it probably is not. You should consult with an employment attorney, bringing all documentation, emails, etc. relating to your work, commission plan, how you've been paid, discussions regarding this issue, etc. and let the attorney evaluate your rights and options. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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