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What can you do if your employer isn't paying your commission?

If you work in sales, the amount that you make often depends on the number of sales you close and the overall price tag associated with those transactions. Many employers use a commission system to motivate salespeople to do the best that they can. Some may not even pay salespeople an hourly wage or a salary, meaning the staff becomes dependent on commissions for income.

It is common for businesses to offer commission based on the number of sales someone makes or as a percentage of the sale you close, with reasonable adjustments made for discounts offered to customers or clients. Some companies will pay more in commission the more sales you close, offering higher commission rates to people who are in their top tier of salespeople. Other companies will put a cap on commissions, effectively reducing the income of their top salespeople.

Regardless of what structure your employer uses, there is an obligation on their part to pay your commission in full when you earn it. Unfortunately, some companies will attempt to withhold commission payments both during and after someone's employment with a company.

Check your contract to make sure you know the terms

Before you rock the boat by claiming that your employer has failed to uphold their obligations to you, it's important to make sure that this is actually the case. Sometimes, people feel confused about the terms of their employment contracts and make assumptions.

Once you have reviewed your work contract and the terms for the commission structure at the company, you can better determine whether you have a legitimate claim. If you have unpaid commissions, retaining the records of the sales and speaking to your manager about it is a good first step. However, for some people, taking action could mean that their employer penalizes them or fires them.

You can take action over unpaid commissions or wrongful termination

Companies should not fire workers who bring systemic issues to their attention, but it still happens with some frequency. If your employer retaliated against you and wrongfully terminated your job because you asked for the commission you were promised in your employment contract, you may be able to take action.

If you have documentation that shows the commission you should receive and proves that you did close sales that entitled you to that commission, you may be able to take legal action against your employer in that situation as well. Don't let an unscrupulous company eat into your income by denying you a commission that you earned by closing sales on their behalf. Stand up for yourself now, and you will protect not just your income but also the people who work at the company after you.

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