Commissions and Bonus Law in Florida for Employees
Serving You and The State of Florida
Commissions and bonuses are often a part of the pay structure for those who work in sales jobs. The exact amounts of these bonuses and commissions can vary, and they can make the pay scale and structure of employees who receive them quite complex. This is one of the common areas where Florida employers can make errors when it comes to compensating their staff.
If you have been paid incorrectly with regard to commissions and bonuses by your employer, you are entitled to seek a remedy for this issue. There are a number of ways that you can collect these unpaid wages, but you will need to work with a skilled lawyer to do so. The team at Lopez Law Group can help you to get the unpaid bonuses and commissions that you are due. We have years of experience with these cases and can ensure that you are able to get the payments that you are owed.
What Are Bonuses and Commissions?
Bonuses and commissions are not just “extras” that some employees are paid. These pay benefits are part of working in certain industries, and they are considered a portion of the actual compensation that is promised to staff who accept these jobs. Bonuses are incentives that are monetary in nature for specific tasks, job duties, or achievements at work. A commission is usually a portion of a sale that is paid to someone who works with clients and secures these commitments that benefit the business.
This kind of pay is considered variable pay, which means that, unlike hourly pay, it is not consistent in amount. That being said, commissions are usually paid out on a regular monthly or bi-monthly schedule. Bonuses tend to be paid out annually, at the end of certain events or projects, or when the employer feels that their staff deserves a thank you for a job well done.
Even though bonuses sound like extras, if this kind of compensation is discussed as part of your pay structure, it is required that you receive the bonus that you were promised. Bonuses are one of the areas where many companies attempt to be dishonest, cut corners, or cheat employees out of money they have earned. Commissions can also be an area of confusion, and many businesses will try not to have to pay these wages to staff who are leaving the company or who have been terminated for one reason or another.
Does There Need to be a Contract About Your Pay to Seek Unpaid Wages?
While it is always a good idea to make sure that you never accept a job that pays bonuses and commissions without signing a contract outlining this part of your compensation, this is not a requirement to seek legal support for your case. If you performed the work in question, you should be paid correctly for your efforts. Even if you did not have a formal agreement about the compensation related to your job, you could still argue for the backpay you are due if you have an email, correspondence about your pay structure, or even a witnessed handshake deal.
The state of Florida actually will accept verbal agreements as legally binding, which means that any promises you made by your employer can be enforced in a court of law. Unpaid commissions and bonuses are usually an integral part of sales jobs and recruiting-type work and any employer offering these positions will need to be sure to compensate staff correctly.
How Can I Recover Unpaid Bonuses and Commissions?
1. Breach of Contract
In order to file a suit against your employer for breach of contract, you need to have a written agreement about the terms of your pay. The format of the agreement can be oral as well, but it is easier to argue these cases when the contract is presented in writing. You are legally entitled to recover all fees in the form of bonuses or commissions that you are due according to the contract. If you were not paid according to the terms of the contract, this is a breach and should be pursued legally as such.
The team at Lopez Law Group has years of experience working on these kinds of cases and knows how to research and present them in a court of law or a settlement hearing. You should not accept this behavior on the part of an employer, and a breach of contract is a great way to seek payment that you are owed.
2. Civil Theft
This kind of lawsuit allows for recovery of the money that you are owed by an employer under the “civil theft” laws. This kind of legal action is reserved for more serious infractions on the part of an employer with regard to unpaid wages. Civil theft indicates that the pay was not provided due to an action that involves stealing, deception, or fraud.
Civil theft cases are complex, but if this is the situation that applies to your employer’s actions, this is the correct way to pursue this kind of case. The team at Lopez Law can help you to get the money that you are owed after an employer engages in theft, fraud, or deception.
3. Minimum Wage Act Cases
There are both federal and Florida state laws that pertain to minimum wage pay and exempt and nonexempt employees. There are certain guidelines that must be met for payment of commissions and bonuses under these laws, and employers of specific sizes or who operate businesses in specific industries must comply with these laws or face legal penalties.
The process of securing the pay that you are due through this process involves a few more steps, but your attorney can guide you through this legal process. There are specific reporting guidelines that need to be used to have these cases heard and for settlement proceedings to be approved and followed through on.
Minimum wage act cases are an area of specialty for the team at the Lopez Law Group, and the team will be able to represent your case correctly and follow all the guidelines. This is one of the most common ways that employees seek to have pay discrepancies addressed.
Who Pays For My Attorney’s Fees?
Florida law provides information about the way that attorney’s fees are to be covered in these cases. Employers or companies who fail to pay bonuses are almost always held accountable for the legal fees of the employees seeking to have back pay given to them. It doesn’t matter how much the back pay in commission or bonuses is, either.
Under Florida law, employees have two years to file complaints about the recovery of unpaid wages in the form of bonuses and commissions. You will have to take additional steps to file a complaint in these cases, but this does not impact the method of payment of the attorney that you secure in most cases.
The team at Lopez Law Group can advise you about the various details related to the cost of representation of these cases so that you are prepared for the progression of your case. These kinds of cases can have a long timeline from start to finish, and it is good to know about the process before your lawyer begins to work on your case. It is always a good idea to decide to seek unpaid wages as soon as possible so that the process of securing a favorable outcome is more likely.
What if My Contract Was Terminated?
If your contract was ended either by you or your employer, you should still be paid correctly according to the terms of your employment contract or your agreement. Even if the wages in the form of commission and bonuses do not get paid to your former employer before you cease working for them, you are still due these amounts. Earned commissions and bonuses cannot be adjusted retroactively either, and they cannot be denied to a former employee just because the work contract was terminated before they were paid.
The only exception to this is if your employment contract clearly states that you are not owed commissions or bonuses if you end the contract in specific circumstances. Signed agreements that indicate the commissions and bonuses are void if the contract is ended by either party are usually insurmountable in a court of law.
It is unfortunately a very common tactic of employers to avoid paying bonuses and commissions to staff who leave their employment before this money can be dispersed. This is against the law, but many employees do not realize that this is the case. Even if you ended the employment contract, in most cases, the amount that you earned in bonus and commission will need to be paid to you once your former employer has it in hand.
Work With a Skilled Legal Team Today
If your employer has not paid you correctly for work that promised commissions or bonuses, you need to seek the representation of a skilled lawyer. The team at the Lopez Law Group can help you to get the compensation that you deserve. We have years of experience in this kind of law. Contact us today and schedule your consultation.
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