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Can an employer go back on their promise for commission Texas

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  • Can an employer go back on their promise for commission Texas

    One of my coworkers had been asking for commission on top of his hourly wage for over a month and earlier today my employer granted him his commission and plans on writing him his first commission check later next week. There are two other individuals at my job who do the exact same tasks as the individual who had been demanding commission and those two individuals are not getting commission. I know that they will confront the president of the company, who is the individual that granted the commission request, on monday about this issue. I am wondering if my employer will have the right to withdraw his promise to pay the individual commission once he is confronted by the other two individuals demanding equal pay or if he is legally obligated through a verbal contract to stick to his word? To my understanding a verbal contract is only good if there is a witness. The president of the company who granted the commission request has a business partner who handles and approves all the finances of the company. He was not in the office when the promise for commission was made so he did not visibly see the initiation of the verbal contract but he did approve the commission check for the individual demanding it. Since he did approve the commission check does he qualify as a legitimate witness to said contract? Please help me out with this.

  • #2
    Contract law v. Labor law

    Don't confuse the labor law implications here with contract law.

    Texas Labor Code, Section 61 (The Texas Payday Law) includes commissions as wages, and requires employers to pay employees in accordance with their agreement. A commission agreement can be oral or written (you see the benefits of written agreements). The Payday law does not refer to witnessed oral agreements, but determinations by Texas Workforce Commission are based on oral agreements, and take into consideration the credibility of the parties.

    Because an employer agrees to pay commission to one employee who skillfully negotiates an agreement does not mean that the same employer must pay commission to all other employees (or any, for that matter.)

    That's the Labor Law take on this...

    Contract Law, which is a whole other animal, may require parties to a valid contract to perform certain actions, including pay. Whether your coworker has an enforceable contract is a question unto itself, and would have to be resolved in the appropriate forum (arbitration, court, grievance, etc.)


    • #3
      Agreed. One difference is that Labor Law is something the government imposes on employers and employees. It is not something that the parties agreed to and it is not something that the parties can make go away.

      Contract law on the other hand only exists if the parties got together and made an agreement. Contract law cannot make labor law go away but contract law can create rights and obligations that would not otherwise exist under labor law.
      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


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