Author Topic: Can an employer lawfully withhold pay?  (Read 1683 times)

Cessna152

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Can an employer lawfully withhold pay?
« on: October 30, 2015, 08:48:04 AM »
Not sure where else to turn in this but I'm curious of the situation. Payday was today and I discovered that in my sales position, I received $0 in commission. When I reached out to our controller I was informed I was overpaid commission last month and will continue to receive $0 commission until the balance is equalled out. I was not told ahead of time, which ticked me off a great deal. Additionally, they do not give us access to commission reports to see ahead of time what we will get commission on/how much, so there was no way for me to verify my commission last month.

It's a young company, and they're working on providing comp reports soon. But my question is, what rights do I have? Are they allowed to deduct my pay without notice to cover an accounting error on their side?

Edit: and since laws probably vary, I am in US based in GA.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2015, 08:51:52 AM by Cessna152 »

Orvell

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Re: Can an employer lawfully withhold pay?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2015, 08:54:37 AM »
I'm not a labor lawyer (or any lawyer, nor anyone who knows much about commissions) but what I know from www.askamanager.org is that they cannot "lower" your pay without notice.
However according to them they are not "lowering" your pay, they are correcting an OVER pay.
It sucks for you, though. And you MIGHT still be taken for a ride, so time to put on your math glasses.

What I'd do:
1) Confirm on your own that they DID over pay you, and by how much. This might mean going to your boss or something to get those reports, because that's important. You can't just be told, "we paid you too much and are taking away MYSTERY dollars for an undetermined period of time." You need to know how much they over paid, and how, exactly, that will impact your future checks.
2) Second, I'd try to get them to recoup the over-payment over a longer period, so your checks aren't 0, even if they are smaller than they were.
3) If they're ass-hats about it, maybe call up the labor department.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Can an employer lawfully withhold pay?
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2015, 09:17:28 AM »
They really need to provide commission statements.

I would ask them when they will start having them and if they will retroactively include the so called overpayment.  If not soon, I would ask them for copies of the documentation and reconciliation that lead them to doc current commissions.

Cessna152

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Re: Can an employer lawfully withhold pay?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2015, 10:46:54 AM »
I found out this happened to a coworker last month as well, so it's a common occurrence as of late. I reached out to our legal counsel to let them know of this lapse of capability from our accounting team and I've been assured the commission statements will be made widely available from here on. In addition, they've decided to release my commission and work with me on a repayment plan on my terms. In the meantime, I'm getting in writing what they claim my overpayment is and will be comparing it for accuracy. We'll make sure it's all done cleanly.

Thanks for some of the pointers. I too found somethings online regarding charge-backs and what we're legally entitled to as employees
http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/employee-charge-back.html

Orvell

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Re: Can an employer lawfully withhold pay?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2015, 11:59:51 AM »
I found out this happened to a coworker last month as well, so it's a common occurrence as of late. I reached out to our legal counsel to let them know of this lapse of capability from our accounting team and I've been assured the commission statements will be made widely available from here on. In addition, they've decided to release my commission and work with me on a repayment plan on my terms. In the meantime, I'm getting in writing what they claim my overpayment is and will be comparing it for accuracy. We'll make sure it's all done cleanly.

Thanks for some of the pointers. I too found somethings online regarding charge-backs and what we're legally entitled to as employees
http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/employee-charge-back.html

Awesome! I'm glad they're working with you and you're getting the details in writing. Here's hoping it goes smoothly...