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

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 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.

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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