Commission Sales Bonus taken away?

UPDATED: Jun 8, 2009

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Commission Sales Bonus taken away?

I work in commission auto sales and have a small base salary. A year ago my employer instituted a policy that if we don’t get a minimum average score on customer satisfaction surveys we lose our commission for the month. Now they have added another “penalty”. If we don’t sell a specific unpopular model of car that month we could also lose our bonus. For two months i have lost my bonus. Is it legal for my employer to keep adding penalties? It seems these policies were put in place to avoid paying us the commissions we earn.

Asked on June 8, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

Sounds wrong.  As you well know though, bonus pays on commission based employment does have a different set of rules than those for straight salary.  However, generally the theory is if you earned it, it cannot be taken away from you.


Further, your state may follow an at will employment theory.  That is, if you do not have a contract or your employee handbook doesn't say otherwise, you can be fired with or WITHOUT cause.  Just like you can walk away without reason or notice.

So, your best bet, check out the following:

1. Contact the Connecticut Dept of Labor and file a written complaint or inquiry (this is the administrative agency route):

2. You can also consult with a plaintiff's (employee's) labor law attorney in your state (sit down, show documents you have etc): and check his or her record at the Connecticut State Bar.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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