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Unpaid Commissions and Bonuses

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Sales commissions and incentive bonuses make up a critical chunk of compensation each year for many working Texans. In fact, salespeople at companies like Oracle and Cisco Systems rake in an average of $70,000 in annual commissions on top of their base salary. For some, commissions are the only way they can get by. The same can be said about earned bonuses.

If you have recently quit or been fired from your job and your former employer is refusing to pay your commissions and/or bonuses, what legal grounds do you have to retrieve the money you have earned? If you are unsure about where you stand, contact our Houston employment lawyers at Shellist Lazarz Slobin immediately. We can take action in order to possibly recover unpaid commissions and bonuses.

Commissions vs. Bonuses

Before we get into how to recover commissions and bonuses, it is important to clarify the difference between the two. When we talk commissions, we mean a mutually agreed upon fee accruing to an employee for facilitating, initiating, and executing a commercial transition. A bonus, on the other hand, is gratuity given as a gift or compensation earned as a reward for achieving a certain goal or milestone.

Factors that Affect Recovering Commissions and Bonuses

Whether an employee can recover commissions and bonuses comes down to several factors, including:

1. Commission/bonus agreement is in writing or oral.

In the state of Texas, a written compensation plan is as good as it gets. A written contract is not the only way to recover unpaid commissions and bonuses, but it is definitely a good option. Agreements that are made verbally can still be used to recover compensation, but they may be tougher to argue.

2. The specificity of the language in the agreement.

If the language in the written document is vague, that may work in your favor, because Texas laws normally rule against the side that drafts the unclear agreement—in this case, your former employer. If the language is clear, and not in your favor, your chances of recovering compensation are much lower.

3. Whether the employee quit/resigned or was fired/laid off.

Depending on whether you were fired with no valid reason or fired with cause plays a direct role in whether or not you receive compensation. If you are fired for no valid reason, then you have a decent claim to the money, at least a portion of it. If you are fired with cause, the courts may rule against you. If you quit, that may also affect the court’s decision, although it varies from case to case.

4. The employer’s practice of paying commissions/bonuses.

If you can show a history of pay stubs or invoices from your former employer, it can help prove that compensation is owed.

5. The timing of when you earned the commissions/bonuses.

Are there restrictions in your compensation plan that say you can only be paid commissions while you are employed or until you finish a sale? Any sort of time restrictions may work against you.

Houston Employment Lawyers

At Shellist Lazarz Slobin, we are dedicated to protecting employees’ rights. If you believe you are entitled to unpaid commissions or bonuses, complete our online submission form. Our Houston employment law attorneys are available to review your case and discuss the options available to help recover what you are owed.

Call (713) 352-3433 or contact us online to speak with an employment lawyer. Se habla español.

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