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Retaliation Under Wage Act Allowed To Proceed

Robert Dorney, a Massachusetts citizen, was allowed to proceed in the United States District Court, District of Massachusetts for causes of action against Defendant, Pindrop Security, Inc. for retaliation under the Massachusetts Wage Act as well as common law claims for the breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and unjust enrichment.

Upon his hire, Dorney executed a letter agreement, which called for a salary plus commissions in exchange for his role as Vice President of Sales for Defendant. Dorney’s claims surround three deals: the first two with Standard Chartered Bank and First Data and the third with Citibank.

The two deals with Standard Chartered and First Data closed in September 2014. Dorney complained to Defendant that he had not timely been paid commissions on the deals. Dorney alleges that as a result of his complaint, he was terminated on October 23, 2014. The Court found that these allegations were sufficiently pled to put forth a cause of action for retaliatory termination / retaliation in violation of the Massachusetts Wage Act.

The third deal involving Citibank had not closed by the time Dorney was terminated, and therefore was not pled as a violation of the Wage Act, but rather a violation of the breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The Court found that because the Citibank deal was being “reduced to writing” which ultimately would have led to a commission payment had he not been terminated, Dorney had also set forth a valid cause of action for the breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Finally, the Court found that Dorney had properly brought forth an action for unjust enrichment because his work on each of the three deals led to profits for the Company. Therefore, given the timing of his termination, the Defendant received a benefit for which Dorney was not paid and he could pursue his claim for unjust enrichment.

If you have any questions about unpaid commissions or the Massachusetts Wage Act and related claims, please call us at (978) 228-2262
.

Dorney v. Pindrop Securities, Inc., et al., United States District Court, Docket No. 15-cv-11505-ADB (September 25, 2015).

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