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Unpaid commissions

So, you work from very early in the morning until very late at night, desperately trying to ink that big deal. Finally, your hard work pays off! The deal is done. You are elated. Not only are you going to reach your quota, but you may even be able to put a down payment on the new Maserati you’ve been eyeing. But -- what? Your employer refuses to pay you the commissions.

You can’t believe what you’re hearing. Maybe your employer has decided it can’t afford to pay you right now, or can only afford to pay part of your commission. Maybe your boss wants to renegotiate once they see how big your commission is. Or maybe your employment ended before the sale went through. Is that any reason for your boss to refuse to pay you? No! In California, you have rights to the commissions you earned on sales you procured during your employment.

Your commissions are wages you earned.

In the case of Keyes Motors, Inc. v. DLSE, the appellate court decided that commissions are wages that arise from a percentage of the price of a product which is sold. You can pursue a wage claim in court or with the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) to collect unpaid commissions.

Commissions are your pay -- and it’s wrong that your employer is keeping your pay.

You have a right to commissions on sales you procured after your employment ends.

In the case of Willison v. Turner Resiliant Floors, the court decided that “he who shakes the tree is the one to gather the fruit.” In other words, if you were the cause of the sale, you should be paid your commissions on the sale. This rule is frequently applied even if there is a written agreement to the contrary. In other words, it’s illegal for your boss to apply a rule where you automatically lose all commissions if you’re not employed.

  Commissions are your pay -- and it’s wrong that your employer is keeping your pay.  

Your boss may say that you had nearly nothing to do with the sale. Some unfair employers will say that the sale was “in the bag” already, or that many other people worked on the sale. Rewriting history is an injustice. Let us help you fight the bullying of your boss.

Your employer must provide you with a written commissions agreement.

In California, the law requires that employers have a written contract with you regarding your commissions, which must include the method for calculating your commissions and require your signature. If your employer has not provided this to you, call us. We can help!

Keep records if you think you have rights to unpaid commissions.

If you think you are entitled to unpaid commissions, you need to begin keeping a log of the sales that you closed, the date in which you closed it, the amount of the sale, and the amount of the commissions you earned on the sale.

  It’s illegal for your boss to apply a rule where you automatically lose all commissions if you’re not employed.  

It would also be wise to note how much work you did, or any other details to explain the importance of the sale or how big the sale is. Since you're the person who made the sale, you're the best person to explain what work you did. Your explanation will help explain why the commission should be calculated in your favor.

Reach out to us if you’d like help in figuring out how to record your missing commissions.

We can help you fight for justice.

When your employer wrongfully withholds pay that you earned, you can feel hopeless. Employers should not get away with it! By standing up for your rights, you are standing up for yourself. You are also standing up for everyone who has ever suffered the injustice of an employer keeping earned wages.

Please make an appointment for a free consultation in our Newport Beach office. You can contact us by email or phone. We want to help.