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Unfortunately, this is legal as long as the employer informs the sales rep of this arrangement at the time their commission structure is set in place. Many times, this type of arrangement, as you can imagine, is in the fine print on the commission contract.
That said, as amazing as it is, this is a legal practice as long as the employer can articulate that this is their policy and that the employee was informed that this was the policy (this can be through the contract or by reference to the employee handbook).
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With that being the case, make sure you look through the company literature as well (employment handbook and policy and procedure manual). If there is nothing in that documentation, and you were told this arrangement after you had started work seeking commissions, then you have a very good argument that the commissions are legally yours at the point they are available...whether or not that is 6 months out.
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