what is my recourse,if my ex boss is withholding my commissions for personal reasons

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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what is my recourse,if my ex boss is withholding my commissions for personal reasons

i have worked at a mom and pop company for 20 years, as a sales rep, my
duties and responsibilities increased significantly over the years, with no salary
increase. My commissions were my main income. I decided to step down from
my added/unpaid office duties and become an independent sales representative.
Obviously the owner became mad, because my presence and free services in
the office will be missed. but i have continued to sell, as I have a 20 year book of
business, and the owner refuses to send copies of my weekly invoices,so i can
price properly, and is withholding my commissions, until i sign a no compete
contract . Is this legal, what is my nest step

Asked on September 10, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You sue for your money. You sue based on two reasons:
1) Breach of contract, or violating the agreement (even if only an oral or unwritten one) pursuant to which you sold for them in exchange for commissions. If you did your part (made sales), they are contractually obligated to do their part (pay the commissions).
2) "Unjust enrichment": when person (or business) A knows that person B's services are not free but nonetheless lets B provide them, A is not allowed to be "unjustly enriched" by getting for-compensation or -pay services for free, without paying for them. They knew you were selling in exchange for commissions; they cannot take the benefit of your efforts (the sales) without paying you what they knew you should be paid.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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