If I recently just quit my job, what are my rights to earned but unpaid commissions?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If I recently just quit my job, what are my rights to earned but unpaid commissions?

I worked in one state (WI), although the corporate office is in another (FL). They always pay commissions on the last paycheck of the month, which will be 12/24. I earned some commissions the weeks right before I stopped working there, so the invoices did not get billed out before I quit. I sent them my address so they could send the commissions I am owed once the invoices are paid by the customers. I am owed about $150. The HR manager informed me that I must be employed at the time the commissions are paid. I did not sign any document that state that law in the agreement. Is this legal?

Asked on December 7, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It is legal if that were the terms under which you were working. Even if there was no written agreement, if that was understood by you (e.g. they'd told you this at some earlier date) and/or if it was demonstrably their practice (e,g. other commissioned employees, on termination of employment, did not receive outstanding commissions), then this would be the terms under which you worked and received commissions and would be enforceable.
On the other hand, if it was never discussed with you and there was no past precedent or examples of them not paying outstanding commissions on termination of employment, then they should pay you, since employees should, unless there is some agreement to the contrary, be paid for all work they did pre-end-of-employment. Or that's the law. Practically, if you are owed $150 and they are in another state, there really is no way to make them pay: you can't sue in small claims from one state to another, but would have to sue in regular country court, and the cost of filing the lawsuit and serving the summons and complaint on them would equal or exceed what you are owed.

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