Commissions & Bonuses
Commissions and bonuses are forms of "wages" under California law. The California Labor Code imposes on employers a number of obligations regarding payment of wages. For example, wages must be paid within a specified time period after they are earned. Employees who quit or are terminated typically must be paid their final wages on their last day of employment or penalties may accrue.
When an employer does not pay all the commission or bonus that is due to an employee, an employee may have a potential wage and breach of contract claim against his or her employer.
Perhaps even more significant are the cases where an employee protests his or her employer's failure to pay the full commission or bonus owed to him or her, and is thereafter retaliated against and terminated. In such cases, not only does the employee have a claim for unpaid wages and breach of contract, but also a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. This is a major claim that may include additional compensation for lost wages, emotional distress, and possibly punitive damages.
In addition, an employee who is retaliated against for making a complaint for unpaid wages to the government or a law enforcement agency like the Department of Labor or the California Labor Commissioner's Office may have a claim under various whistleblower statutes.