Baker Sterchi recently secured a six-figure settlement on behalf of a client pursuing a claim against his former employer under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act. Notably, the firm obtained the settlement without the need to file a lawsuit. Our client alleged unpaid commissions prior to termination, which the former employer disputed. The employer argued that our client had not earned the commissions at issue, and even if he had, he had already been compensated in the form of a severance payment. Our client did not have a written contract with his former employer explicitly specifying when commissions were earned. Furthermore, prior to termination, the employer only paid our client commissions when goods sold were shipped. The unpaid commissions at issue were for products that had not shipped at the time of our client’s termination. Additionally, at the time of termination, our client executed a settlement release with the employer in exchange for a severance payment.
Baker Sterchi argued that, according to Illinois law, our client earned a commission under the Illinois Wage Act upon completing all the work required to make a sale, not at the time of shipment. Prior to termination, our client had completed all the work required of him to make the sales associated with the unpaid commissions at issue. Baker Sterchi also argued that out client had not settled or released his claim under the Wage Act because, pursuant to the Act, an employee cannot waive or release such a claim, even if they execute a release or accept a disputed payment. Ultimately, the employer agreed to a settlement that covered the full amount of the unpaid commissions, our client’s attorney fees, and an additional amount reflecting the five percent statutory penalty damages available under the Act.