In SD, can my employer change my commission rate retroactively?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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In SD, can my employer change my commission rate retroactively?

I have been getting the same rate for over a year and it has been changed
beginning in June of 2019. There was no signed agreement at the start of my
employment, just a verbal agreement to the rate.

Asked on July 25, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, South Dakota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Without a written contract locking in your rate for a set or fixed period of time (e.g. a one-year, two-year, etc. commission or employment contract) it can be changed at will prospectively or going forward; the change would be effective for work done/sales made after you have notice of the change.
But your rate cannot be changed retroactively. Even without a written agreement, there was still a contract: an oral (unwritten one; "oral," not "verbal," is the correct term). An oral agreement is binding until changed (as discussed above): any work you did or sales you made before you were told about the change must be paid at the rate which was then in effect. You could sue for "breach of contract" to get any money you should have received under the old rate before being informed of the new rate, if you deem it worth your while to do so.

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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