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Unpaid Commissions FAQs

Curt Masker is an unpaid commissions lawyer in Nashville, TN who fights for workers who have been wrongfully denied their hard-earned commissions. As a Tennessee worker, you deserve to be fully compensated under the law for your hard work. Unfortunately, some employers intentionally shortchange commission-based workers by refusing to pay all amounts owed.

A commission is compensation paid to an employee based on the sale of a certain good or service. The rate of this compensation is often expressed as a percentage of the total dollar amount of orders or sales. Commission is usually paid in addition to a base salary and is used by employers to incentivize performance and increase sales.


1. Does My Former Employer Have to Pay Out My Earned Commissions?

It depends. The amount and timing of commission payments is usually controlled by an agreement between the parties. The agreement may be in the form of a written contract or a “sales” plan. Other times, an agreement to pay commissions is oral and the prior course of conduct between the parties controls what commission amounts are owed.

Some unpaid commissions cases in Tennessee involve conflicting interpretations of employment contracts, sales plans, and/or other guidelines and compensation documents that detail how and when commissions are to be paid. Timing is a key consideration in unpaid commissions cases. Some commission plans state that in the event the employee resigns or is terminated, he or she will only receive commissions due on the effective departure date (i.e., excluding future commission).

What is “due and payable” on a particular date is often highly contested. For example, are commissions due that were “earned” prior to the termination based on completed sales, but for which the employer has not yet received any revenue stream? What if the employee is terminated without cause? With cause?

Nashville Unpaid Commissions Attorney Curt Masker can help you pursue claims for unpaid compensation based on your particular circumstances. In some cases in which the agreement to pay commissions was not reduced to a written agreement, the sales representative may have legal claims under quantum meruit or implied contract theories of liability.


2. Does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Require Commissions Be Paid?

No, the FLSA does not require the payment of commissions. However, you may still have legal claims under contract or quasi-contract theories of liability.


3. Does My Employer Owe Me Overtime for Hours Worked Over 40?

It depends on your particular position, job duties, and methods of compensation. In the context of commission-based compensation, if you spend more than half of your time making sales outside of your employer’s central office, then you may fall under the “outside salesperson” exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act. In this case, you would not be entitled to overtime.

If you are an inside salesperson you may also be exempt if your regular rate of pay is more than 1.5 times the minimum wage and more than half of your earnings are from commissions. Since Tennessee’s minimum wage is $7.25, you must earn at least $10.88 per hour to fall within the law’s inside sales exemption.


4. Should I Sign a Severance Agreement Even Though My Employer Owes Me Outstanding Commissions?

No. Do not sign anything until after you have spoken with an experienced unpaid commissions lawyer about your particular circumstances, including having the attorney review your compensation and severance documents. Chances are high the severance agreement includes a release of all known or unknown legal claims you may have against the company, including claims for compensation of any kind. Do not allow an offer of severance pay entice you into waiving your legal claims for pennies on the dollar.

If you are age 40 or older, the Older Workers Benefits Protection Act requires your employer to encourage you to consult with a qualified employment attorney and to provide you with at least 21 days to consider the severance offer.


5. Does Tennessee Have a Commissions Statute?

Yes. Tennessee’s “Commissions Statute” can be found at Tenn. Code Ann. 47-50-114, et seq. The statute applies to commissions earned for the sale of wholesale products. Commissions earned for products sold at the retail level or for sales of services are not covered by the statute.

For commissions that fall within the statute’s protections, payment is generally due within 14 days of termination. Damages under the law include all commission amounts due as well as up to 3 times the amount of the commissions due if the company acted in bad faith. These statutory requirements cannot be waived by contract or otherwise, and a prevailing plaintiff is entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs in circumstances showing bad faith.


It depends. If you are covered by the FLSA, and you have a dry spell in which you do not make any sales, your employer is still required to pay you at least the minimum wage ($7.25/hr. in Tennessee).


7. What is the Statute of Limitations for Unpaid Commissions Cases?

Most breach of contract claims in Tennessee have a six year statute of limitation, but some claims have short deadlines of one year or less. Also, when the clock starts to run on a particular claim is highly fact specific and you need to speak with an experienced unpaid commissions attorney in your area to know your deadline for filing legal claims.


8. I Think My Employer Is Violating the FLSA, What Should I Do?

Call Nashville overtime lawyer Curt Masker right away at 866-931-0146 for a Free Attorney Consultation.

It’s Time to Fight Back – Call Today

Do not allow your employer to take advantage of you. Understand your legal rights by contacting Nashville unpaid commissions lawyer Curt Masker today at 866-931-0146 or online for your Free Attorney Consultation.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Curt worked diligently and maintained excellent communication with my case. He made sure to keep us updated about any and everything. I highly recommend the Masker Firm. Would give more stars if possible. Jeff
★★★★★
Curt really came through for me when a previous employer had reported my job title and hire dates incorrectly, he got it corrected within 12 hours of speaking to him about it! I would recommend him for any of your legal needs as he is quite efficient! Renee
★★★★★
Curt was very responsive from the beginning. He made it a very easy process, and he provided excellent guidance in the review of my severance agreement. Due, in part, to Curt's thoughtful suggestions in regards to changing some key language in the agreement that would protect both me and my former employer, they agreed to the changes. To protect yourself during job transition, a review of a severance agreement is a smart thing to do, and Curt will do an excellent job on your behalf. Thomas
★★★★★
Curt handled a case for me and did an unbelievable job in getting a resolution and a great settlement. I would highly recommend him to anyone. Teena