What to do if you are denied a commission you earned
If you believe your employer failed to pay you a commission that you earned, the law offers you a few recourses to get what's owed to you.
Illinois Department of Labor
You could file a claim with the Illinois Department of Labor. The advantage is filing the claim does not cost you any money in terms of filing fees unlike the court system. And an investigator will review your complaint. But the Department of Labor is extremely busy and it sometimes takes a year before the department finishes investigating your claim.
Wage and Payment Act
Another recourse is to file a lawsuit in court under the Illinois Wage and Payment Act. It might sound counterintuitive but your lawsuit is likely to move faster than if it's before the Department of Labor.
The downside to filing a lawsuit is the cost. You will have to pay court filing fees and the cost of a summons. In addition, you most likely will need a lawyer. Your lawyer may charge you by the hour or a flat fee. How you are charged depends on the way the lawyer does business and how complicated your case is. But if you prevail, the Wage and Payment Act allows you to recover your attorney fees.
Illinois Sales Representative Act
Lastly, if you meet certain requirements, you could file a lawsuit under the Illinois Sales Representative Act. For example, you must have sold a product - not a service - to be eligible for damages under the act.
If you are successful under the sales commission act, you will receive triple damages and your attorney fees will be paid. The disadvantage is that filing a lawsuit against your employer under the act is likely to be a tough battle. After all, no employer wants to be found responsible for triple damages by a judge or jury.
In the end, the correct course of action in getting paid a commission you that was wrongfully denied to you is a decision you should make after consulting a lawyer. Even if you decide to file a complaint on your own with the Department of Labor, the advantage of talking to a lawyer first is getting advice from someone who knows the law.