How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask RobertJDFL Your Own Question

RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 10270
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
18284290
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
RobertJDFL is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My Texas employer of 4 years terminated me June 5, 2013. I

Customer Question

My Texas employer of 4 years terminated me June 5, 2013. I was a their top salesperson (out of 4 reps) to date but a new VP of Sales as of a few weeks ago, terminated me stating he "was forming a new sales team and that I was not a good fit." No other information or explanation was provided. I was the only sales person terminated and do not understand his explanation seeing how much revenue (>$5M) I brought the company through my termination date. I am a 55 year old female, in good shape and health, and have good relationships with my clients so I'm stunned.

My former employer drafted a contract (8 pages) with numerous restrictions and statements that have me waiving my rights for any future law suits. They want me to sign a document that states a lie... that I resigned... which I suspect is so I'm unable to collect unemployment. They have offered me 4 weeks severance and will pay with my commission when I sign and submit this document in 7 days. I feel pressured to sign because I need the money, but I don't want to waive all my rights. Can they not pay me my commission, which I thought was a portion of my salary, if I don't sign this document? If need be, I would be willing to counteroffer with a contract that is fair to both my employer and I. I need to be employed and they are restricting me with this contract.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question.

They still have to pay you your final commission according to Section 61.04 of the Texas Payday law. As noted on the Texas Workforce Commission website:

If an employee is laid off, discharged, fired, or otherwise involuntarily separated from employment, the final pay is due within six (6) calendar days of discharge. If the employee quits, retires, resigns, or otherwise leaves employment voluntarily, the final pay is due on the next regularly-scheduled payday following the effective date of resignation.

It is further noted that Regular wages are due no later than the regularly-scheduled payday for an employee who resigned, and by the sixth calendar day for an employee who was laid off or discharged. The deadline for payouts of fringe benefits and other components of the pay, such as commissions and bonuses, is the same, unless a different payout schedule is provided in the wage agreement or policy relating to that particular component of the pay. In that case, the payment schedule outlined in the agreement or policy will determine the deadline for payment. In other words, if there was a policy that said commissions are paid once a month, for example, they could technically wait until the regular date of payment to give you that portion of your benefits.


As you describe it, however, it seems like the employer is trying to lump you waiving your rights to bring a possible lawsuit with your getting severance pay/commission.
They cannot withhold your commission by state law, but there is no entitled to severance pay under state or federal law -that is a matter of contract or employer policy. If you had a contract that guaranteed you severance pay, for example, or your employer routinely pays severance to employees, then an argument exists that you should receive it.

I would defintely not sign anything until you have an employment lawyer look over the agreement and give you their opinion. While Texas is an "at will" employment state, meaning absent an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement, which may have given you more rights, an employee may be terminated at any time, for any reason, or no reason at all (they don't have to be given an explanation) so long as it is not done for unlawful purposes. Thus, for example, if you were terminated due to your race, religion, age, sex, disability or national origin, that may be grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

They have already scheduled me to receive my first severance check the next payday, which is Wednesday. Does accepting this payment imply my acceptance of the contract since both the severance and commission are listed together? The HR Manager says if they don't receive the signed contract they will figure I am forfeiting both severance and commission. This seems unfair to pressure me to sign. Shall I tell them to hold the severance until I review the contract with a Labor Attorney?


 

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.

If you were to accept the check, I think an argument could be made that your are through your actions, acknowledging acceptance of their terms. I would definitely tell them that you are entitled to the full 7 days to review the agreement and to not issue you any severance until such time a local labor attorney has been able to review the agreement and advise you accordingly, yes. They don't have to give you more than the 7 days to have the agreement reviewed, unfortunately.
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 10270
Experience: Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
RobertJDFL and 8 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Robert...meant to ask...you mentioned you were searching for a local labor attorney that can review my contract and respond with counter contract (if applicable). Will you be emailing that to me? I live in Dallas, TX.


 


Thank you for your advice.


Cindy

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.
Perhaps you misunderstood what I meant. I was saying that yes, you should not accept any severance until you have had a local labor attorney review the severance agreement. Site rules actually prohibit us from recommending or refering a customer to a particular lawyer or firm.

However, I would recommend you contact the Texas Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service. Their number is 800) 252-9690 or (877) 9TEXBAR (Toll Free), Monday - Friday, CST, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They can help people a lawyer in over 240 counties in Texas, and if they do not cover the county that you need, they will find you a service that can help you. You just need to call them and tell them what county, and the type of lawyer you need (labor and employment). Through this service, the lawyer they recommend will charge you an initial consultation fee for the first ½ hour of his or her time. This ½ hour fee will be no more than $20.

If you wanted to look up lawyers this weeked on your own, I would recommend www.avvo.com, which has lawyer ratings and reviews.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I must thank you all for such a positive and knowledgeable Expert in your Employment Law category. She has provided much relief and answers for me in the midst of dealing with a case. I am totally pleased with her customer service and care. Mildred Washington, DC
< Last | Next >
  • I must thank you all for such a positive and knowledgeable Expert in your Employment Law category. She has provided much relief and answers for me in the midst of dealing with a case. I am totally pleased with her customer service and care. Mildred Washington, DC
  • Excellent direction from Socrateaser to help me preserve and pursue my rights as a proud American who has become unemployed in this messed-up economic downfall. Thank you Happy Customer Denver, CO
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    7759
    JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    7759
    JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/marshadjd/2009-6-1_194320_marshajd.jpg Marsha411JD's Avatar

    Marsha411JD

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    10539
    Licensed Attorney with 27 yrs. exp in Employment Law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/NY/nyclawyer/2012-6-7_22011_photo66139201112041.64x64.jpg Infolawyer's Avatar

    Infolawyer

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    9785
    Licensed attorney helping employers and employees.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/jaccorpsesq/2011-11-13_21141_JAnewphoto.64x64.jpg Allen M., Esq.'s Avatar

    Allen M., Esq.

    Employment Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    9429
    Employment/Labor Law Litigation
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MI/MILawyer/2011-2-28_0311_JBUprofile.64x64.jpg JB Umphrey's Avatar

    JB Umphrey

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    6273
    Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TU/TUSA/2012-6-6_55219_test.64x64.png Thoreau (T-USA)'s Avatar

    Thoreau (T-USA)

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2469
    Attorney
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2214
    I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.
 
 
 

Related Employment Law Questions

Chat Now With An Employment Lawyer
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL
Attorney
1344 Satisfied Customers
Experienced in multiple areas of the law.