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I recently left a position while still owed commissions for a deal that closed after my departure. My activities, duties, etc. on this deal were completed. I simply needed to wait for the other departments to finish and close the deal. Now, that employer (based in Palm Beach Count Florida) is withholding a commission due to me ($55,000) and threatening not pay me unless I sign an agreement, inclusive of a non-compete, relinquishing many of my rights to continue to perform in the same field, mention past deals I was a part of etc.

Can he do this? What recourse do I have? Most of what I have researched and read states they absolutely cannot do this and cannot threaten to withhold and make me sign something to get my monies owed. Please enlighten me. Thanks.

I found this Florida statute: (3)(a) When the contract between a sales representative and a principal is terminated and the contract was not reduced to writing, all commissions due shall be paid within 30 days after termination. (b) In the event a principal fails to comply with the provisions of paragraph (a), the sales representative has a cause of action for damages equal to triple the amount of commission found to be due. The prevailing party in any such action is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs.

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    It looks like you have answered your own question. For that sum of money though, you probably want to consult a lawyer. (If you want to be nice about it without going legal on them initially, you might want to write a letter WITHOUT PREJUDICE advising that if they fail to pay you before you take court action they risk paying triple + legal fees. You might also want to advise them that as a separate matter you are might be willing to entertain a restraint of trade for additional remuneration). – davidgo Aug 3 '18 at 23:38
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    As a general principle of law, A party can't change an agreement unilaterally after its been agreed - and you would be entitled to additional compensation for additional requirements on your part - should you choose to accept it. – davidgo Aug 3 '18 at 23:39
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Can he do this? What recourse do I have?

It seems unlawful for him to do that. See Florida statute 868.413(3)(b) (prohibiting "To coerce, compel, or attempt to coerce or compel any dealer to enter into any agreement [...]"). According to 686.417, you may file a lawsuit in [state] circuit court, meaning that you don't have to exhaust any administrative remedies prior to suing the company. I don't know if that answers your question.

The statute you cite is 686.201(3)(a) (the part in bold is missing in your inquiry). The full chapter is here, although maybe that is what you have been reading.

  • This seems to apply to franchises. Am I incorrect in reading it that way?868.413(3)(b) (prohibiting "To coerce, compel, or attempt to coerce or compel any dealer to enter into any agreement [...]")....although I see this "The statute you cite is 686.201(3)(a) (the part in bold is missing in your inquiry). The full chapter is here, although maybe that is what you have been reading." refers to commissions. Got it. Thx. – Sizzle Aug 3 '18 at 23:48
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    @Sizzle It not only encompasses franchises, but also other entities such as wholesaler, manufacturer, officers or agents thereof, etc., prohibiting them to do any "act prejudicial to such dealer by threatening to cancel any franchise or contractual agreement existing between [them] and such dealer". – Iñaki Viggers Aug 3 '18 at 23:54
  • I've been speaking to some attorneys and it appears that it is going to cost me some good coin to even get a letter written from a lawyer, let alone go to court, should it come to that. Not very happy with this system. – Sizzle Aug 15 '18 at 21:25
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    @Sizzle Of course, they also seek to take advantage of you. That is one reason why I decided to represent myself. However, the decision to litigate in pro per needs serious thought because it demands so much dedication and can be very frustrating. – Iñaki Viggers Aug 15 '18 at 22:11
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    @Sizzle That's correct. I hadn't noticed until today that you have asked about it. Neither the remedy of treble damages appears in the current version of chapter 686, nor does the Senate bill mention any form of substitute. Statutes 686.413(3)(b) and 686.417 remain current, though. The lesson (also for me) is that we need to use http://www.leg.state.fl.us to get the current Florida legislation. – Iñaki Viggers Aug 22 '18 at 21:12

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