Can a compnay change a commision structure after the quarter is complete and the work is done?

Can a compnay change a commision structure after the quarter is complete and the work is done? I have signed and returned a compensation agreement to my employer, including a commission payout structure. The agreement had gateways to recieve certain commisions. After the quarter was completed, the company is now changing, rasing the gateways, in effect redcuing the commision payouts. Since the quarter is complete and the work done, can the company change the commission structure after the fact? To add insult to injury, they also never said they were making the change and are claiming the original gateways were mistakenly set too low.

2 answers  |  asked May 29, 2008 3:17 PM [EST]  |  applies to Maryland

Answers (2)

Neil Klingshirn
The employer cannot change the deal after the work is done.

Mary is right. This is a classic breach of contract case. While the employer can change the commission structure going forward, once you made sales under an existing commission pay plan, the employer is bound to pay it. If the amount in dispute is small, you may be able to go to small claims court. It is fairly easy to do.

The employer's other claim, that it mistakenly set the gateways too high, is a defense to the contract, but not a very good one. The employer must basically show that the two of you agreed to the lower amount and not just that it thought the deal was for the lower amount. If you have the higher amount in writing and remember the higher amount as the deal, then the "mistake" defense will probably fail.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  May 30, 2008 09:35 AM [EST]
Mary T. Keating
Change to employment terms

This sounds like a breach of contract. You have a deal, you work according to the deal, and then the employer says, after the fact, that the deal is off. But with two weeks' notice a company can change the terms of employment, going forward. If you are prepared to give up on this company, and insults and injuries might be plenty of provocation, you have to decide if there is enough money at stake to sue. (Make sure your compensation agreement does not require arbitration.) Good luck. Mary Keating

posted by Mary T. Keating  |  May 30, 2008 08:55 AM [EST]

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