Whatt odo about commissions owed if you leave a company’s employ?

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Whatt odo about commissions owed if you leave a company’s employ?

I work in sales for a company at will. I receive a monthly draw that my commissions are applied against. My commissions are paid out over the course of the entire selling year ex. a sale worth $12k in commision made in January won’t be completely paid out until December. They say that if I leave voluntarily that they do not have to pay out my commissions for the rest of the year. Is this true? I would think that i have earned the commissions and they would have to be paid if I leave before the end of the year.

Asked on June 27, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is no single right answer: that is, whether employees are entitled to unpaid commissions if they leave employment prior to payment depends entirely on the terms and conditions under which they had been working. It would be legal to pay out the commissions even after you leave; it would also be legal to not do so. If there is no explicit or express agreement on this subject, you can look to discussions, emails, text messages, any policy statements or handbooks, or past practice (i.e. what happened with other sales people who left in the past? were they paid?) to try to determine and prove the terms of the agreement. If there is no guidance at all, then a good argument could be made that if sales are paid over time, you have to be present to receive the payment--but that's only an argument in your employer's favor. You could still sue for  your commissions and try to argue/prove that you are entitled to them.


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