Am I owed penalties and dues?

I worked for a court reporting agency that I later found out that I signed a non-compete clause for, even though I was told I would be working as an Independent Contractor; paying for my own supplies, shipping and production. They were assigning the jobs to me and decided my set pay for every job I would take. I was told they have good lawyers and ones they have "weeded out" to find the ones who pay their agency, so I need not worry about getting paid on time. I waited weeks to months to be paid for my services over the course of a year. They have recently released me since I started asking for my money and when I would, checks would all of a sudden "come in" for me. If I am concidered an employee this whole time, aren't I owed penalties for waiting and they have then not paid any taxes on my earnings...Should I take this to civil court?

1 answer  |  asked Feb 3, 2010 1:16 PM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (1)

Christopher Ezold
Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.

That being said, generally, in Pennsylvania you must be an 'employee' to be bound by a noncompetition agreement. This may not apply if you were a prior employee that converted to being an indpendent contractor, or sold your business.

That being said, failure to pay you, or pay you in a timely manner may be a breach of the agreement by the employer that would terminate your obligation not to compete. Furthermore, if you did not know you were signing a noncompete, you may not be bound. Finally, even contractors are covered by the wage payment laws in Pennsylvania, so you may be entitled to a 25% penalty for unpaid wages, and your attorneys' fees.

If you were under the control of the employer, you may not have been an independent contractor - which leads to the employer's obligation to pay unemplyoment, certain employment taxes, etc.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
Nancy O'Mara Ezold, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Suite 501
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  Feb 3, 2010 1:50 PM [EST]

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