One of the legal areas in which I most enjoy practicing is commission disputes. Before going to law school, I spent a few years as an account executive with AT&T selling computer equipment and related telecommunications equipment. During that time, more than half of my income was earned through commissions and bonuses based on a number of complicated commission plans that included commissions based on sales volume and quota attainment and various bonuses. So, I understand how frustrating it is when companies for whom commissioned salespeople work for fail to pay commissions as promised. Successful salespeople work as hard as any professionals I know and they deserve to be paid for all of the sales that they make. The following are the top scenarios that I have seen in Georgia when companies refuse to pay salespeople the full amount of money owed and litigation is imminent.
1. By far, the most common dispute arises when a salesperson quits and leaves the company. Depending on the type of sale, there could be a stream of commissions due for up to a year or longer after departure. Other times, it could be a large payment which triggers commissions due to the salesperson in the future, but after the salesperson has left the company. Many employers take this opportunity to unlawfully withhold commission payments on commissions that were earned and but paid. Absent contractual language to the contrary, this is unlawful. Many times the contract specifically addresses this situation. Other times, it is silent or ambiguous as to who these payments are to be earned and paid.
2. Another common situation which results in a commissions dispute is when a company fires a salesperson and refuses to pay the outstanding commissions unless the employee signs a release and settlement document which hampers her ability to go to work for a competitor. Not only is this not necessary, it puts the salesperson in an untenable position with her formers employee and any prospective employees. If you find yourself in this position, it would make a lot of sense to consult with an experienced commissions lawyer before signing anything that could hurt your legal rights to collect your commissions in the future.
3. Finally, it is common to see a commission dispute when the company pays the wrong person for the sale. Unfortunately for the company, if they paid the wrong person, this does not absolve them from the legal (contractual) obligation to pay the correct salesperson all of the commissions due and owing.
If you are involved in a commission dispute over a substantial amount of money, please call Robert J. Fleming on (404) 525-5150 to discuss the merits of your case. Attorney Fleming has been handling commission disputes against employers, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 923-7497 or contact us online.