Agents can sue companies who deny them commissions

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My sister entered into an agreement with a realty developer wherein she was hired to serve as a sales agent for a period of six months, from January to June 2015. She was able to sell two condominium units which have already been paid for by the buyer. Now that she is claiming her commission from those sales, the representatives of the company are giving her a difficult time. She considers filing a complaint before the NLRC, but she is not sure if this is what she needs to do, because there is a “no employment relationship” clause in their contract. Can you please give advice on how she should go about this problem? Thank you and best regards.

Dear Cel,
The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) may only pass upon matters which are employment-related. To be more particular, Labor Arbiters of the NLRC have the authority to hear and decide cases of workers, whether agricultural or non-agricultural, which relate to: “(1) Unfair labor practice cases; (2) Termination disputes; (3) If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement, those cases that workers may file involving wages, rates of pay, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment; (4) Claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employer-employee relations; (5) Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this Code, including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts; and (6) Except claims for employees compensation, social security, medicare and maternity benefits, all other claims arising from employer-employee relations, including those of persons in domestic or household service involving an amount exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000), whether or not accompanied with a claim for reinstatement” (Article 217, Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended).

Thus, it is essential to determine first whether your sister’s concern relates to matters which are employment-related in order to fully ascertain whether or not filing a complaint before the NLRC is the proper route for her to take.

We may take into consideration the provisions of their contract. You mentioned in your letter that their contract has a “no employment relationship” clause. This may serve as an indication that although there exists a contractual relationship between her and the said company, it is not one which can be considered as an employer-employee relationship.

Apart from the provisions of their contract, an employer-employee relationship may be established through the following elements: (a) Selection and engagement of employee; (b) Payment of wages; (c) Power of dismissal; and (d) Power of control. If your sister will be unable to establish any of the foregoing elements, then it cannot be said that there exists an employer-employee relationship between her and the said company. Accordingly, instituting a complaint before the NLRC is not advisable for her to take as it will only be dismissed.

Nevertheless, she is not without recourse. Your sister may opt to file a civil case in order for her to assert the rights and obligations entrenched within their contract, more particularly as to her right to collect payment against the company of her commission for the sales of the condominium units which she successfully concluded.

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to


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