Commission Sales Bonus taken away?

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Commission Sales Bonus taken away?

I work in commission auto sales and have a small base salary. A year ago my employer instituted a policy that if we don’t get a minimum average score on customer satisfaction surveys we lose our commission for the month. Now they have added another “penalty”. If we don’t sell a specific unpopular model of car that month we could also lose our bonus. For two months i have lost my bonus. Is it legal for my employer to keep adding penalties? It seems these policies were put in place to avoid paying us the commissions we earn.

Asked on June 8, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Sounds wrong.  As you well know though, bonus pays on commission based employment does have a different set of rules than those for straight salary.  However, generally the theory is if you earned it, it cannot be taken away from you.

 

Further, your state may follow an at will employment theory.  That is, if you do not have a contract or your employee handbook doesn't say otherwise, you can be fired with or WITHOUT cause.  Just like you can walk away without reason or notice.

So, your best bet, check out the following:

1. Contact the Connecticut Dept of Labor and file a written complaint or inquiry (this is the administrative agency route): http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/

2. You can also consult with a plaintiff's (employee's) labor law attorney in your state (sit down, show documents you have etc): www.attorneypages.com and check his or her record at the Connecticut State Bar.


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