If I get paid a commission on each construction job I do and I had a job that went negative, can my company charge me my portion of the negative amount we lost even though I earned nothing?

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If I get paid a commission on each construction job I do and I had a job that went negative, can my company charge me my portion of the negative amount we lost even though I earned nothing?

Asked on December 16, 2014 under Employment Labor Law, North Dakota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It depends on whether that was part of the "agreement" between you and your company *prior* to them attempting to charge you. Employers and employees can agree to essentially any payment arrangment or scheme they chose, including ones with charge-backs and penalites, but there must be agreement before some punitive aspect of the payment or commission plan is invoked. So if you knew that your company could do this (and knowing it, still chose to work for them, thus implicitily showing your consent or agreement), then they most likely could; however, it was never explained to you that this was a possibility, your company should not have the right to do this.


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