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Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20029
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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The manager at my business quit unexpectedly a month and a

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The manager at my business quit unexpectedly a month and a half ago. She locked me out of my office for a week and a half. She left the business in a horrible state -- client files unmarked or missing, rotting food left in some of the stalls (it is a ministorage), the office in a mess. She expects me to pay her the commission for the half a month she "worked". The work was not more than collecting the mail and depositing the checks, obviously only so she would get the commission. Do I have to pay her? it has cost me hundreds of dollars just in getting things set up again.
Hello,

Thank you for the information and your question. However, I will need a bit more information from you in order to properly assist you. Can you tell me if this worker was a W-2 employee and if not, why not? Also, when you say "commission" was that in addition to a regular hourly wage or salary and was there a contract of employment that set out exactly how the commission would be "earned?"
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


The commission was earned based on the monthly income of the storage. It was 10% of what was brought in. In the past I had offered her free rental space for her RV along with electricity, water, and utilities. However, she moved into her own house and told me she would soon be returning with the RV, but she did not do so.

Hello again and thank you for that information, however, I don't see where you answered all of my questions. So, I still need to know: Can you tell me if this worker was a W-2 employee and if not, why not? Also, when you say "commission" was that in addition to a regular hourly wage or salary and was there a contract of employment that set out exactly how the commission would be "earned?"
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I claimed her wages on my tax form. There was no hourly wage; it was all based on commission.

I am not sure what you mean by you claimed her wages on your tax form, but if you mean she never received a W-2 or a 1099 form, then I would highly recommend that you pay her what she says you owe her. The reason I say that is because you are exposed to legal issues with the IRS, State tax officials (for income, workers' compensation and unemployment taxes) and the State Department of Labor for wage law issues. In other words, it is not lawful in the situation that you described not to treat this employee as a W-2 employee. So, if she really wanted to cause problems for you she could file complaints/fraud reports with the IRS and the State.

If I have misunderstood the facts, please let me know, but based on the few answers I received, that is the legal situation. That said, even if she were a W-2 employee and she made this mess, then under Washington wage laws you would not be able to withhold her pay from her. She must be paid her regular wages or commissions earned as agreed to. Then, if she intentionally destroyed or broke your property, or otherwise cost you money to get back into business, then the appropriate venue to handle that is to sue her in small claims court. But, you have to separate her wages from the other issues and handle them separately. Otherwise, you can find yourself having some major problems with the State Department of Labor, and tax authorities.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
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