Question: My employer fired me for no reason and to top it off, he is refusing to pay me my commissions. How can I get my unpaid commissions paid? Isn’t this wage theft?
Answer: Unpaid wages are recoverable in Florida under a breach of contract approach. The employment contract may be oral or in writting and the Statute of Frauds defense does not apply. Commissions are considered wages in Florida, and are recoverable so long as you can show that your wages have been earned. If you are able to show this, then your attorney fees are also recoverable. The law permits attorneys to oftentimes represent the employee at no cost to the employee. However, the recovery of commissions after employment is a bit of a gray area because the employer oftentimes defends these types of cases by stating that the commissions have not yet been earned. Florida has developed the common law in these types of cases to be that: unpaid commission are recoverable if they have been fully vested and earned. This means that if any significant work remains to do in order for the commission to be earned, then the commission is not fully vested. For instance, if a salesman sells a door, but the door needs to be installed before the commission is earned, and the commissioned employee gets fired before the door is installed, then the employee may not have yet earned his commission as it may not have fully vested.
These types of wage theft cases should be handled by experienced lawyers who specialize in labor and employment law. In these types of gray area cases, a great attorney can make the difference between getting your commissions back, or losing in Court. At Arcadier and Associates, we have represented hundreds of employees to recover their lost wages. Our centrally located offices in Central Florida – Brevard County, Melbourne is staffed with seven attorneys ready to help.