Did you work hard to fulfill your end of a deal, then your employer didn’t comply with his end? You worked hard to meet a deadline or achieve a promised goal, but now find yourself in a situation where you haven’t received the money that your employer owes you.
Your hard work and success deserve to be rewarded, especially if you were promised a specific compensation structure upon being hired. However, not every company lives up to its word. Were you not paid a bonus or commission you rightfully earned? If so, you may be able to recover these lost wages. Contact our employment law attorneys at Feldman Legal Group. Our aggressive representation will ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
For a consultation about suing for unpaid commissions in Florida, you can reach our team at (813) 639-9366.
What Are Unpaid Commissions?
People who work in sales, retail, real estate, software, medical devices, and other industries often receive a commission. The commission is payment to employees or independent contractors in exchange for work performed. Some are paid a commission in addition to a salary, while others are paid the commission only.
Commissions are calculated in different ways. The specifics can vary between industries. A commission could be a flat fee, a percentage of a transaction (like a percentage of a sale or portion of a profit), or with a performance benchmark. You may have agreed to a payment structure based on revenue or gross margin. You may be paid by the job or some other calculation.
An unpaid commission, therefore, is a sum owed to an employee or independent contractor that was earned, but not paid. The nonpayment could have occurred on one occasion for one specific project or sale, it could be recurring, or it could be because the employee or independent contractor was terminated. It also doesn’t matter if you weren’t paid at all, if you were paid less than you were owed, or even if you were paid very late.
Commissions can be a large expense to a company. The less your employer pays you in commissions and bonuses, the more money they make.
Because unpaid commissions can happen in many ways and over multiple periods of time, it is in your best interests to contact an unpaid commissions lawyer in Florida to discuss your specific case. It doesn’t matter the amount or the circumstances; if it’s owed to you, let us help you get it.
Whether you’re an inside sales representative, an outside sales representative, or an independent contractor, if you have not received the compensation you have earned, you may have a legal claim. Talk to our lawyers today about suing for unpaid commissions.
For advice on getting the money you earned, call our unpaid commissions lawyer at (813) 639-9366.
Methods Some Employers Use to Short Workers
Unpaid Commission Strategies Are Unfair to Hardworking Employees
Our Tampa unpaid commissions lawyer has heard many excuses and reasons employers give for not paying commissions.
Many of the excuses for not paying commissions deal with the nature or terms of the contract, such as:
- No valid contract because it wasn’t formally written
- Undefined or poorly defined terms
- Ambiguity as to whether the performance standard was met
- Discretionary commissions or bonuses
- Termination of contract work.
Each excuse is a tactic employers use to purposely avoid paying commissions.
In many businesses, written contracts are the norm. However, even without one, if you performed the work, you deserve to be paid for your time and effort. It doesn’t matter whether you had a written formal agreement, informal email or text correspondence, oral deal, or handshake deal.
The state of Florida recognizes that verbal agreements are valid. This makes sense because you wouldn’t have performed the work without agreeing to receive something in return, even if you didn’t formalize the details in a contract. You should discuss your specific circumstances with our Florida unpaid commissions lawyer.
Some contract terms are undefined or ambiguous. Other contracts fail to anticipate the employee’s unique circumstances. The complex nature of contracts allows employers to unilaterally and arbitrarily change the terms and stop the payment of earned bonuses and commissions to their hard-working representatives.
Employers have also used contract terms to underpay employees and contractors. In most cases, the question as to how much is owed becomes a matter of looking at the contract or agreement. Some contracts make the calculation and determination of commissions incredibly confusing and complex. A poorly worded agreement can, therefore, create disagreements between employers and employees about the amount earned. The employer might use the doubt and uncertainty created by the agreement, or lack thereof, to avoid paying fairly. They are banking on the fact that their employees will be too confused to review their pay calculations, and will simply accept their paycheck as correct.
A Florida unpaid commission attorney can help. An unpaid bonus attorney can explain your rights and assess the compensation due to you. Our lawyer knows the ins and outs when suing for unpaid commissions and can help get you what you have worked so hard for and rightly deserve.
Performance Standards or Discretionary Commissions
By avoiding clear and concise communication, the company benefits. In fact, they may even tie their sales commissions to a performance factor that is undefined, discretionary, or arbitrary so it becomes impossible for hardworking sales representatives to determine what they are owed. In the end, employees may feel cheated out of earned commissions and simply give up in frustration.
Termination of the Contract or Work Incomplete
Sometimes, employers refuse to pay earned commissions when an employee leaves the job for any reason, despite having closed a deal or worked on a project prior to their exit. If the commission was earned while you were employed by a specific company, they should pay you, even if the work has ended. While the employee is entitled to receive the commission, if other people performed work on the sale after the employee left, the actual amount owed to the departed employee may be unclear.
Earned and accrued commissions or bonuses cannot be reduced or recalculated retroactively, so if you already earned it, they must pay you. The only exception is if there is an understanding that commissions aren’t due after termination of the work relationship. An employer might singlehandedly try to avoid paying after termination by establishing a policy or writing a handbook stating that commission is due, or having the employee sign an agreement.
“David and Goliath” Mentality
Many times, businesses withhold commissions because they think they will get away with it. After all, you are one single employee and they are a business. They assume that you will think litigation is too burdensome or expensive. They think it will be too hard to figure out exactly what you’re owed or that suing will cost more than taking accepting the loss of the commission. This strategy fails when you hire the Feldman Legal Group.
If you weren’t paid the commission that was owed to you, we can help. You deserve to be paid according to the agreement you have with your employer. There is no excuse for an employer who agreed to pay you not to follow through. If you are owed a bonus, consult the employment lawyers of Feldman Legal Group today at 877-946-8293.
How to Collect Unpaid Commissions
Recovering Commissions You’ve Earned
There are a number of legal methods to recover the commission you’ve earned. Rest assured the law is on your side. Our Florida unpaid commissions lawyer will review your case and guide you through the most appropriate approaches and laws that could apply.
Breach of Contract
In order to file suit, you and your employer must have made an agreement regarding the payment of compensation. However, the format of the agreement, whether it is written or oral, does not affect the fact that compensation is due.
If you have an agreement and have earned commissions or bonuses, you are legally entitled to recover the wages owed. The law holds that any commissions earned must be paid to an employee at the rates and amounts in the commission or compensation plan in effect, enforceable under a Breach of Contract lawsuit.
Therefore, you could potentially sue your employer for breaching your contract or agreement. If you agreed to achieve a certain outcome (such as making a sale) in exchange for payment, and you hit the goal but didn’t receive your commission, you may be able to pursue compensation by suing.
Call our unpaid commissions attorney in Florida at (813) 639-9366 today to find out how we can help with your specific case.
In certain cases, a claim for unpaid commissions may be recovered under a “civil theft” legal theory. Civil theft can apply to more serious and egregious cases of unpaid commissions. Theft is a crime that can be prosecuted by the State, but Florida law allows private citizens to sue in civil court if the employer intentionally stole, deceived, or committed fraud.
Civil theft is a complicated area of law. Therefore, you should contact a Tampa unpaid commissions lawyer for a consultation: (813) 639-9366.
In addition to those outlined above, depending on your circumstances, you may have statutory avenues available for recovering unpaid commissions. For example, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or the Florida Minimum Wage Act (FMWA) may apply. There are certain specifics about overtime and minimum wage payment that are different for commissioned employees, so to find out if you have an FLSA or FMWA claim contact our Florida unpaid commissions attorney.
Moreover, Hillsborough County has an ordinance that may allow you to recover your unpaid wages. The ordinance states that wage theft occurs when an employer fails to pay you any portion of wages as an employee or independent contractor within a reasonable period of time.
Finally, the law requires an employer to pay employees for work performed within a certain time frame. If your employer doesn’t pay you on time, they might have to pay a penalty. This can be triple the amount. You need a lawyer to help you obtain penalties and to help you determine how much you’re owed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who pays for the attorney when I sue for unpaid commissions?
Florida laws clearly illustrate the cases in which attorney’s fees are covered by the employer.
F.S. 448.08 provides for attorney’s fees for successful litigants in actions for unpaid wages. It states that any employer or company that fails to pay earned and owed commissions or bonuses is at risk to pay the employee’s attorney’s fees, regardless of the amount of the commission or bonus owed. That means that if you win, your employer pays for your lawyer. Here’s one example of a case illustrating the recovery of attorney’s fees in Tampa, Florida.
How long do I have to recover unpaid commissions in Florida?
Under Florida law, a person has 2 years to file a complaint about the recovery of their unpaid and owed commissions or bonuses.
You may have to take additional steps before you can even file a lawsuit, such as filing complaints with the appropriate state or federal agencies. Gathering all the information and filing these complaints can take time, so you need to act immediately.
Do I have a case without a written contract?
The good news is that you can still probably sue your employer. In Florida, oral agreements can be valid and enforceable. The difference comes in litigation strategy. Your unpaid commissions attorney will take extra steps to obtain proof of an agreement and its terms. However, the fact that it wasn’t formally written doesn’t mean there was no legal contract.
If you have questions about your specific scenario, call Feldman Legal Group. We will take the time to answer your questions about unpaid commissions in Florida: (813) 639-9366.
Our Tampa Unpaid Commissions Lawyer Can Help You
Our Unpaid Commissions Attorneys Get You Settlements
Time is money. This adage, when applied to litigation regarding unpaid wage claims, could not be more true. In fact, for an employer, disputing these claims can be costly, both in time and legal fees. The more an employer fights an unpaid wage claim, the greater the attorney’s fees it will owe to the employee’s attorneys.
Legal expenses, as you would expect, decrease the profitability of all businesses. The threat of rising expenses usually creates a significant incentive for the employer to settle unpaid wage claims and pay the owed bonus or commission.
If the amount to be paid (as opposed to whether you actually earned the bonus or commission, or its existence) is at the heart of the lawsuit, many employers will at least offer to compromise during the negotiation phase.
Trust a Knowledgeable Lawyer
We are committed to protecting the best interests of hardworking employees like you. Our motto is “Justice for Workers.” Let us get justice for you. We will get to know you and hear about your circumstances, then fully investigate your claims, and fight tirelessly for your unpaid wages, commissions, and bonuses. You work hard and should be compensated appropriately.
For a consultation, contact the Feldman Legal Group at (813) 639-9366..