Is it legal to change my commission pay after it has been earned?

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Is it legal to change my commission pay after it has been earned?

I have a signed pay agreement. They are going to change it affective the 1st. of next month. However, my employer put my commission from this month into the new agreement. That commission was earned this month under the original

agreement. Then told me if I didn’t want to do that then they would just terminate me and not pay any of the commission. What should I do? I have not signed the new agreement.

Asked on April 15, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal: all work done up to the moment you are told of a new rate or pay structure should be paid under the prior or then-existing structure. However, it may be difficult as a practical matter to protect your rights: while the employer would technically be in the wrong if you refuse and they fire you for insisting on the correct pay, given that the base or default setting in this country is "employment at will," they could fire you; then you'd have to sue to try to get your job back or get compensation; and you can't count on winning that suit, because the judge in your case could simply base his/her decision on "employment at will" (and the right to terminate employees at any time) without considering the other factors. In short, you run significant risks if you fight your employer over this month of commissions; and being legally write would be cold comfort if you find yourself unemployed and having to take uncertain legal action.


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