Commissions due after Resignation

i worked with a franchised owned store from march to april. the agreement was that i was paid annually and a commission of 3% once my orders were invoiced. i had to resign (contract stated employment was at-will), and was told that i was not going to be paid my commission because I only worked for one month and the cost to train me and hire me exceeds my commissions earnings. Nowhere in the contract did it state that I would not be paid commission if I resigned. This doesn't make sense to me because one thing does not have to do with the other. I don't have any of my customers account numbers which I should be getting credit for. How can I receive the commissions that I worked very hard to earn? Does it seem like a valid case?

1 answer  |  asked Jun 6, 2005 10:59 AM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
What Are You?

I don't know how much you are owed, but, if it is significant, you really need to become willing to pay a consultation fee to an attorney who can examine your case in detail to give you the answers you are seeking. I am responding to this query because of the interesting questions it raises.

You seem to indicate that you had a contract which referred to you as an "employee at will." If you were an employee, then the employer is probably violating a number of different statutes. But the way you describe the job also suggests that you may have been an independent contractor.

The distinction between employee and independet contractor is extremely important in determining your rights. Each classification has advantages and disadvantages. Some employers like to fudge the distinction so that can get the advantage of each classification while trying to avoid the disadvantages of each classification.

Even if you were paid straight commission, annual payment of commissions/wages is improper. But only if you were an employee. As an independent contractor annual payment would be highly unusual, but probably not illegal.

Under New York State law, employers are basically prohibited from making any deductions from wages unless the employee consents. (A big exception is, of course, for withholding taxes.) Thus, withholding the costs of training is also prohibited, but what did your contract say about deductions and the costs of training.

The question of withholding if you were an independent contractor would be governed entirely by the terms of the contract, which may or may not includes terms and conditions not contained in the written part of the contract.

There is a special law in New York State which addresses the issue of commissions.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Jun 7, 2005 08:17 AM [EST]

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