Unpaid Commissions

Dedicated Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Representing Commissioned Employees Throughout LA and Orange County

Commissioned employees enjoy the potential benefit of earning significant income. At the same time, income among commissioned employees varies tremendously based on the job, the time of year, the industry, and the specific employer. Given the nature of these positions, when an employer withholds unpaid commissions, it can have both an immediate and lasting impact on an employee’s financial situation.

At the Hardin Law Group, Attorney James Hardin is a veteran Los Angeles and Orange County employment lawyer with extensive experience handling cases involving unpaid commissions and other wage and hour violations. We offer free consultation to all prospective clients, during which we will answer your questions, outline your options, and explain how we can help you recover your unpaid commissions.

What is a Commissioned Employee?

A commissioned employee is a worker whose pay is based largely or entirely on commissions. Commission-based compensation structures are common in sales roles, where employees are highly incentivized to close deals or sell more products or services. A worker’s commission is typically a percentage of the sales or deals that they secure.

Under California Labor Code § 204.1, “commission” is defined as “compensation paid to any person for services rendered in the sale of such employer’s property or services and based proportionately upon the amount or value thereof.” However, commissions do not include,

  • Short-term productivity bonuses;
  • Temporary, variable incentive payments that can only increase under the terms of the contract; and
  • Bonus and profit-sharing plans unless they are tied to a percentage of sales or profits.

The specifics of how an employee’s commission is calculated and paid can vary widely depending on the company, the type of product or service being sold, and the terms of the employment contract. However, California employers are required to have a signed, written commission agreement with any employee who is paid commissions. If an employer fails to pay employees earned commissions, they can sue for unpaid commissions and other damages and penalties under various California Labor Code provisions, including §§ 210 and 2699(f)(2).

What Information Must Be Included in a California Commission Agreement?

A commission agreement, whether it is for a Los Angeles or Orange County employer, must be in writing and specifically state how the commissions are calculated and when they are to be paid. In general, employers must pay commissions according to the formula in a written commission agreement and pay them in the pay period in which the commissions are earned.

How Might a Los Angeles Employer Violate a Commission Agreement?

As an experienced Los Angeles unpaid commissions lawyer, Attorney Hardin has handled countless cases involving employers who wrongfully withhold commission payments. In our experience, employers often shortchange employees for hard-earned commissions by miscalculating commissions, delaying payment of commissioned earnings, or imposing improper “chargebacks” against a worker’s commissions.

Another common type of unpaid commissions lawsuit involves an employer’s refusal to pay commission earnings to a terminated employee. In this example, an employee earns commissions while employed and then, for whatever reason, the employee’s employment is terminated, and the employer fails to pay the employee their rightfully earned commissions.

In this situation, California Labor Code § 203 provides that the employer is responsible for continuing to pay the employee at the same rate until the employee is paid or files a lawsuit against the employer. However, in no event will this period last longer than 30 days.

Is Your Employer Withholding Your Commission Check?

If you are currently working as a commissioned employee or recently left such a position, and your employer is refusing to pay you the commissions you earned, reach out to the Hardin Law Group for immediate assistance. At the Hardin Law Group, our Los Angeles unpaid commissions attorney has over 25 years of experience fighting on behalf of workers—and only workers—in all types of employment lawsuits, including those involving wrongfully withheld commissions. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call our Los Angeles employment lawyer at 310-606-2122. You can also connect with our Orange County employment attorney by calling 949-337-4810. Calling is free, and we will not accept payment for our services unless we can recover compensation on your behalf. We also handle wrongful termination, harassment and discrimination claims.

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