Should I pursue my case with the Texas Workforce Commission or Small Claims Court?

I worked as a dentist for a practice in, Texas and my pay is based off of collections/commissions. I gave the proper notice to the employer. During my final week at the office, the EMPLOYER decided to not let me return to finish some cases that I had started. I had completed about 95% of the work on those cases already.

According to the contract, the employer is allowed to make deductions on my paycheck if the work is not finished. However, since the employer did not allow me to finish the work, I feel that I should be compensated for the time and effort that I had spent on my patients. I spent several weeks of time at the office and did not get paid at all.

I filed a wage claim form with the Texas Workforce Commission. The preliminary decision was not to my satisfaction, and I understand that I can appeal the decision. I have read multiple bad reviews on the TWC's special hearing process, and I am wondering if it is better to file an appeal with the TWC or to pursue my case with the Small Claims Court.

Thanks for any advice.

1 answer  |  asked Nov 7, 2010 7:26 PM [EST]  |  applies to Texas

Answers (1)

Thad Harkins
You need to meet with an attorney close to you (in or near the city in which you live). There is some difficult law from the Texas Supreme Court (see link:
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/tx-supreme-court/1471941.html )

about when/whether you can file a suit for commissions/unpaid work if you've pursued the same claims unsuccessfully through the TWC process, and a determination needs to be made as to whether you're "stuck" with the TWC process (the law is unclear on how far you have to go with the TWC before you're stuck, or whether you can abandon it so there's not a "final" ruling on the TWC wage claim). As you only have 10 - 14 days to appeal the initial determination by the Wage Division, and only 30 days to appeal to a court of any "final" TWC ruling, you should get to an attorney before this time expires (as your options may be limited by whether you appeal to the hearing process). There is a list of Texas lawyers you can access on this site, or go to www.mytela.org for a list of Texas lawyers who might give you a consultation.

posted by Thad Harkins  |  Dec 5, 2010 6:50 PM [EST]

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