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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
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Posted: June 20, 2016

At-Will Employee Not Entitled to Post-termination Commissions

On June 2, 2016, the First Department issued a decision in Holahan v. 488 Performance Group, Inc., 2016 NY Slip Op. 04311, holding that an at-will employee was not entitled to post-termination commissions, explaining:

Plaintiff’s breach of contract claim, which alleged that the corporate defendant breached the parties’ employment agreement by failing to pay her certain compensation and benefits upon the termination of her employment in 2013, was correctly dismissed. The employment agreement expired in December 2007, and it unambiguously provided that any extension of the agreement needed to be in writing. Because there was no writing extending the agreement, her breach of contract claim fails as a matter of law.

Plaintiff’s unjust enrichment claim, which seeks post-termination commissions, also fails as a matter of law. Upon the expiration of her employment agreement, plaintiff became an “at-will” employee, and such employees are not entitled to post-termination commissions.

The motion court correctly dismissed plaintiff’s claims for promissory estoppel, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation, since, in the absence of a signed employment agreement, she could not have reasonably relied upon defendants’ alleged oral representations regarding the terms of her employment.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted).

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