If I was employed as a salesperson and my employer decided to decrease my commissions so I left, do I have any grounds to claim unemployment?

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If I was employed as a salesperson and my employer decided to decrease my commissions so I left, do I have any grounds to claim unemployment?

Only my base pay was reported as income; commissions were paid cash. I worked long hours and never was paid overtime.

Asked on February 25, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Employers have the right to alter, including decrease, an employee's compenstion, including commissions. If you left due to a pay cut, that would most likely be considered a voluntary separation from employment (that is, quitting or resigning), so you most likely would not be eligible for unemployment compensation.

However, you may have been eligible for overtime--while certain sales jobs (some retail sales positions; some field sales positions) are exempt from overtime, not all are. Also, the company should likely have made certain payments or contributions on your behalf for your commission-based income, such as paying the employer portion of FICA, I believe, and if those were not paid, you may have a claim for that, too

Since you might have a claim for unpaid overtime and/or for certain contributions due to you, it would be worth your while to consult with an employment law attorney, to see if you do have a cause of action. Bring with you evidence of hours and pay for the lawyer to review.


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