Commission earned by salesman must be paid

Can They Do That?

Your Money

May 09, 2004|By Carrie Mason-Draffen

I am a commissioned salesman. My boss has decided that if a customer doesn't pay after 120 days, he will revoke my earned commissions. I don't have a problem with that. But I do have a problem when the customer eventually pays in full, and my boss insists on keeping the commission. I believe I should be entitled to the commission once the customer pays. What recourse do I have?

If the customer pays, your boss owes you the commission. Your case seems to indicate that you become eligible for it once the goods or services are delivered. But now, your company voids that commission if the customer makes a late payment or doesn't pay at all.

"This would not be permissible since it effectively is a deduction from wages previously earned," said a spokesman for the New York Labor Department.

Your boss can't decide willy-nilly when you earn the commission, either. Your contract should define when your commissions are earned.

Carrie Mason-Draffen is a columnist for Newsday, a Tribune Publishing newspaper. E-mail her at

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