The Illinois Sales Representative Act governs commission payment law in Illinois. The Act covers three main areas. 1. When commissions come due to the employee. 2. How employers should handle commissions owed to a terminated employee. 3.The penalties that can apply to employers if they fail to comply with the Act.
When you get paid your commission depends on if there is a contract or not. If there is, generally speaking that contract will control. This can include limiting your right to a commission if it hasn’t been fully earned yet or if you are no longer employed. If there is no contract, the law instructs us to look at how the employer has typically handled paying commissions in the past. For example, if you are a salesman who usually receives payment within seven days of a client paying their bill, that is how you should be treated if there is no contract. If you are a new hire with no payment history, we look to see how the company has treated other employees and hold them to that standard.
If a commission based worker is terminated, Illinois law says they should receive payment within 13 days of their termination. If more commissions become owed at a later date, they too should be paid within 13 days after they come due. Under Illinois law, an employee can’t waive their right to collect this owed money. Any agreement that says it’s waived can’t be enforced.
If your employer doesn’t pay commissions, you can sue them. The law in this area is very favorable to Illinois workers. It allows you to collect up to three times what you are owed. In addition, your employer may be forced to pay your lawyer fees and all of your court costs. The longer it drags out, the more it can cost them. So if they don’t have a good defense there is usually strong motivation to settle.
The attorneys we know who handle these cases usually work on a contingency basis. That means they only get paid if they win and there are no costs to you up front. This is really important because if you have been screwed out of money that you are owed and need to live on, the last thing you can do is pay a lawyer. Even better, the attorney if they win your case doesn’t take money from your recovery but instead their fee is a separate case issue. So if you are owed $10,000, you can end up with $30,000 and your lawyer will get whatever their bill is.
If you feel you’ve been wrongly denied commissions or just have questions, call us any time to speak with a lawyer for free.