Does my employer have to furnish me with details of the sales that I’m paid commissions on?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Does my employer have to furnish me with details of the sales that I’m paid commissions on?

I work as a sales merchandiser for a third party vendor to a major supermarket chain. I am paid commissions on any sales of our items on a weekly basis. All I’m given is a total of what sold in each of my stores. Commissions make up about 60 of my pay. When I asked a year ago for details of what I’m selling, they made a big deal about it. The regional manager along with my manager and head of HR came to see me. They brought me a copy of what the supermarket supplies them. They also showed me a copy of their contract with the supermarket stating that they are not allowed to give the sales figures out to anyone. Although I believe they are misinterpreting the agreement. They did allow me see a weekly list for a whole 10 minutes, not enough time to analyze it to make sure I’m getting credit for what I should be. How do I know they aren’t picking numbers out of a hat? In the past we have been paid adjustments for items that didn’t show up in store sales correctly. How would I know, I don’t know what’s sold? Does my employer need to provide me with details of itemizes sales if I ask or can he just give me the bottom line figures?

Asked on September 10, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

They do not need to provide you this information unless:
1) You have a written employment or commission agreement with them which requires it. If you do and they violate that agreement, you could sue them for breach of contract to enforce your right to the information.
2) You believe they are short changing you and file a lawsuit against them, again for breach of contract (for violating the terms of the agreement in not paying you what they should); in the course of the lawsuit, you could use the legal mechanisms of "discovery" (i.e. document production requests; written questions or "interrogatories") to get this information and documentation. Of course, you'd unfortunately have to sue *before* you knew for sure that the suit was warranted, since it is only in a lawsuit that you have access to discovery and can compel the production of this argument.
As you can see, there is no way to force them to provide this without litigation of one type or another.

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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