A commission is an amount of money that is paid to an employee upon completion of a task, usually the task of selling a certain amount of goods or services. It can be paid as a percentage of the sale, a flat dollar amount based on sales volume, or based on any formula that the employer and employee agree upon. Some jobs are 100% commission based, but the vast majority are not. Most sales jobs will offer you “base salary.” This is what the employer pays you as a based in addition to the money that you earn from your commissions. Employers often use sales commissions as an incentive to increase worker productivity. When a commission is paid in addition to a salary, it may be included in the employee’s paycheck or, paid on a separate schedule, usually bi-monthly or monthly.
Working for commission pay has many advantages for highly motivated and talented salespeople, with the most appealing aspect of this type of compensation plan being that you can leverage the risk to make quite a bit of money, if you are very good at your job. However, the are a lot of risks that come with a position that is heavily compensated by commission. One such risk is that many employers attempt to wrongfully withhold commissions even though they have been earned and are payable to the employee. The most common time this happens is when the salesperson (or account executive, broker or any other of a number of terms used to describe an employee who works mainly on commission) make a sale and then is either fired or quits prior to the commission being paid. While each case is different, most cases require a lawyer to resolve this type of dispute because the basis for the recovery is based on many factors, the law, and the application of the specific facts of the case to the law. A copy of your employment contract, and any commission plan or schedules that you were working under are important first steps in analyzing this type of situation.
We have litigated cases involving these legal issues with small local companies and large multi-national companies alike. Many of the tactics used by these companies are unlawful under Georgia law. Often, the only recourse if you want to get paid is to hire an attorney who knows the laws in Georgia as they apply to unpaid commissions and other monies owed and sue the company for your money.
For almost 25 years, Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling commission disputes, business litigation and other types of civil litigation lawsuits for individuals and families in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area, including Alpharetta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, College Park, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you or someone you know is involved in such a dispute and would like quality legal representation or if you would just like to consult about a potential case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.