If I was told that I would be paid my commission if no longer employed with the company but now my employer is refusing to pay, what are my options?

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If I was told that I would be paid my commission if no longer employed with the company but now my employer is refusing to pay, what are my options?

I was told on 10/14 that I had to resign or move to TX, because my position is being eliminated. However, they were going to offer me a job at corporate but with only a $500 relocation fee to move 831 miles away. I said no. They stated in an email that they would pay me my commissions but now have said that they won’t. What are my options here? I live in TN so for me to go after the $4500 that I am owed, I would roughly break even. I surpassed my yearly goals by 16% so performance was not an issue. What do I do?

Asked on November 11, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You've identified the key issue--is it worth it? An agreement to pay your commissions would typically be enforceable; and indeed, if it was generally the company's policy to pay commissions in a like situation, then that policy might itself form an enforceable implied contract to do so. However, in a breach of contract case, you can only sue for the benefit of the contract; i.e., what you would have received had the agreement been honored. If you would have otherwise received $4,500, that's what you could sue for. Whether it is worth the time and expense of a lawsuit, especially given that a lawsuit is never a guaranteed win, is something you would need to decide for yourself. You should speak to some local attorneys; perhaps one will take it for a contingency fee, in which case if the lawyer wins you'll at least get something.


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