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I was laid off and my employer owes me commissions. Should I file a complaint with the State Labor Department?

New York, NY |

I worked as a recruiter and was laid off at the end of March. My employer still owes me $6,000 in unpaid commissions (wages) from Dec 2012/Jan 2013.

Clients usually pay my employer on a candidate's start date, or 30 days after a candidate's start date, or in 2 installments on those dates. My work agreement does not specify when commissions are to be paid out, but my employer has always said: "you get paid when the client pays us."

I have been requesting updates on the status of the commission payouts since mid-to-late February 2013. My employer has acknowledged my emails & calls each time with: "We are reviewing the information and will have updates for you soon." They have NOT informed me of late payments by clients, nor have they told me when to expect payment.

How should I proceed?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Yes, you should file a complaint with the New York State Department of Labor. Employers are required to pay commissions within five business days of employment termination or within five business days after the commission has been earned if it had not yet been earned when your employment was terminated. Based on the information you have provided, it sounds like your commissions should have been earned by now.

    The information provided above is for general purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Seek competent legal representation, because the facts of each case are different.

  2. Yes.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

  3. I would hire a private attorney. The Labor Law provides for penalties as well as attorneys fees to be awarded so your employer will have a strong incentive to settle the case quickly. Best of luck!

    Ryan Finn
    Serving clients throughout New York
    Free initial consultations

    PLEASE READ THIS DISCLAIMER * I very much like to offer my advice and guidance to those in need. It is why I became a lawyer. However, please note that I have not been engaged to be your lawyer so my advice is general in nature. Certainly, if you would like, please feel free to email or call me to further discuss the particulars of your situation (as many times it is not a good idea to provide a lot of information about your case on a public forum). * Hacker Murphy, LLP * 518.213.0115 * * * Hacker Murphy serves clients throughout New York State (including New York City and Long Island). *

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