Can my former employer withhold final commission pay?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my former employer withhold final commission pay?

I worked for a private sprint retailer and was fired at the beginning of last month and still haven’t received my commission for that month or the month before and they’re telling me that I have to wait 180 days to receive that which doesn’t seem like it should be legal.

Asked on February 17, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

A commission check is different from a regular paycheck. Unlike a paycheck, it does not need to be paid when you terminated or, at most, within 2 weeks of termination. It should be paid whenever you would normally have received the next check, had you not been fired. If they take longer than that, you could in theory sue them to expedite the payment, but since the suit will itself (even in small claims court, the fasted court, where you'd act as your own attorney to save legal costs) take at least 6 - 10 weeks on average, unless you're waiting much more than another 6 - 10 weeks (based on what the normal commission payment schedule would be), it is unlikely to be worthwhile to do this--you can't get extra money from the retailer in a case like this, but only get them to expedite paying the money you're getting anyway.

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