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Wages from commissions owed....Help!! Ohio

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  • Wages from commissions owed....Help!! Ohio

    Hi! I have been working as an event coordinator for a restaurant that recently changed ownership. Initially, I was a full-time salaried employee plus commissions, but in July I began working from home on straight commission. At first, I was told by the new owners that they would honor the agreement I had in place for the parties I already had booked (the previous owner had made them aware that I would be owed commissions for parties under their ownership), but now they are saying that the previous owner owes me the money because I was her employee--not theirs. As of yesterday, they have hosted (and made the profits from) 7 events that I coordinated and am owed a commission on. The last time I contacted them I was told that they would be meeting with the previous owner and their attorney and would get back to me. That has been over a week ago and in the meantime I've gone 2 1/2 weeks without a paycheck. Are they correct in saying that they don't owe me the money and, if so, do I have any recourse against them or the former owner? Thanks!

  • #2
    Hard to say.
    - Commissions are legally tricky. Especially salary plus commissions. Different states have very different rules on commissions.
    - If the work was done for the prior employer then legally wages owed (if wages are indeed owed) are owed by the previous employer. Could the new employer in theory have an agreement with the old employer to cover the old employer's debts? Sure, in theory, but the law does not assume that. Wages due are normally the responsibility for the employer that the work was done for.
    - Do you have an actual written commission agreement from anyone? If so, have a lawyer review it now. If not, your prospects while not zero just got a lot worse.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


    • #3
      Thanks for replying and yes, it is definitely tricky. While most of the leg work was performed under previous ownership, the current owners are the ones that actually made the income from the events. I have a copy of my initial job description (before I went to straight commission) that discusses the commissions and how they will be paid out, etc. but nothing since we changed the arrangement. All I have are the emails we exchanged wherein we negotiated a higher commission and then my paystubs that indicate the change in commission percentage.