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I was terminated from my sales position on February 2. The…

I was terminated from...

I was terminated from my sales position on February 2. The company is being reasonable and has agreed to pay commissions from sales closed in January. However, I had a very large opportunity that was in the contract phase that I asked to be paid on when it closed. Now I am being told the deal is delayed and may not happen. I have a feeling my employer is either not being truthful or is purposely delaying the sale in an attempt to avoid paying commissions. They also sent me a Separation and Release Agreement which states, in part, "By executing this Agreement, Employee acknowledges
that he is not owed any additional compensation from Company and he does not contend that
Company should pay any further commissions or wages owed to Employee." This makes me nervous. They won't pay me my commissions until I sign and return this document.

Lawyer's Assistant: When we are ready I'll take you to the appropriate web page.

How long?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

I am based in CO, the employer is based in IL

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No

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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/13/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10,213
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today.

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only. What specific questions did you have? I have an idea about your situation, but I don’t want to make any assumptions.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I was terminated from my sales position on February 2. The company is being reasonable and has agreed to pay commissions from sales closed in January. However, I had a very large opportunity that was in the contract phase that I asked to be paid on when it closed. Now I am being told the deal isdelayed and may not happen. I have a feeling my employer is either not being truthful or is purposely delaying the sale in an attempt to avoid paying commissions. They also sent me a Separation and Release Agreement which states, in part, "By executing this Agreement, Employee acknowledges
that he is not owed any additional compensation from Company and he does not contend that
Company should pay any further commissions or wages owed to Employee." This makes me nervous. They won't pay me my commissions until I sign and return this document.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I just found out that the client is expecting to move forward with the contract in 6-8 weeks. According to my employer, I need to be an active employee to be considered for commissions but I still can't shake the feeling they let me go so they didn't have to pay me commissions.

Thanks for your patience. Generally, an employee that is terminated is supposed to be paid out all earned wages at the time of their termination within a specified period of time as set by law or earlier if agreed to by contract between the parties in a settlement agreement. The big question here in this case is whether this commission was considered "earned" at this stage. In your experience, was this commission considered earned?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
It was in the contract stage, meaning, both sides were in a legal discussion. They verbally agreed to move forward. No, the deal had not been signed, therefore, it was not earned but I read this: If a sale closes after an employee's termination, a prima facie case for entitlement to commissions is made where the employee has established that he would have been entitled to the commissions had he not been terminated (Schaefer v. Horton-Cavey, 1984).

I see what you mean. Generally, the courts have been in favor of employees to receive their commissions if there is some logical conclusion that suggests that the employee's efforts resulted in the closing of the sale. It's a fact based call and you would have to line up the pros and cons to see how a court would rule; however, most courts would look in a light most favorably to the employee since they are the ones in a position of lesser power. In your case, you would have to try to make that determination yourself. If you can make that determination, present that to the employer as to the reasons why you believe this commission should be included. You could bring up the Horton-Cavey case as a way to help illustrate what a court would probably consider should they decide to fight you on this. You could also suggest that legal fees for most attorneys are usually $300-$400 per hour, so whatever your commission is, it would be sucked up by legal fees if they tried to fight so it would make better sense financially just to pay you and then never have to deal with you again.

What other questions did you have for me today that I can help you out with:-)?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Do you suggest I hold off signing the Separation and Release Agreement until then? Does a legal precedent trump the employer-employee compensation plan?

Yes, I wouldn't sign the separation agreement until you have better discussions with them. Legal precedent should trump the compensation plan, but that will only apply if you take it to court. A court would consider both the compensation plan and how fair it is and weigh it against legal precedent in coming to its decision, but usually the decision by previous judges under the doctrine of stare decisis usually controls.

Did you have any other questions for me about this today?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you for your help. I may be back in touch.

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Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
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