Can an employer refuse to pay commissions after an employee resigns?

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Can an employer refuse to pay commissions after an employee resigns?

I am a commissioned sales associate. Last week I gave my 2-week notice and all off my accounts were reassigned. I have signed contracts and outstanding commissions that according to the research I’ve done are due to me as the jobs come to fruition. My ex-boss tells me that according to their lawyer they don’t owe me anything. Also they’re asking for my password to a Yahoo e-mail used for personal and work’ they are threatening to hack it. What should my course of action be?

Asked on October 12, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) Re: the account--they have no right to your personal account, and if they "hack it," they've commiitted a felony. They can require you to turn over to them all work-related messages that you currently have; and they can--and probably should--offer you some compensation for forwarding future work messages (e.g. from clients) to them rather than simply ignoring them as would be your right.

2) Whether or not they have to pay your commission depends on the terms under which you worked. It would legal, for example, for the terms of a sales associate's representation to be that he or she is not commissioned fo any pending or outstanding sales one he or she resigns. (And it's also legal that he or she would be paid.) If there are no terms in any agreement, letter, memo, etc. to that effect, you could look, if possible, to what was done previously when reps left to see what terms were implicitly ratified by company behavior. If there's no guidance from past behavior and no agreement or terms, if you and the company can't work something out, you may need to consider suing them to get what you feel you deserve; in that case, you should speak with an employment attorney who can evaluate the strength of your case.


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