Sub-contractor or not

I went to work as a subcontractor for a family member with the promise of a guaranteed wage. Now after a few months the guaranteed wage was withdrawn and now is only commission based. They have control over all scheduling, although I can mark times off. They also supply all tools such as paperwork and displays. They also want me to follow their sales procedures and have gone on sales calls with me to make sure I am following their procedures. Am I really a sub-contractor? Would it be wise to hire an attorney to pursue damages such as lost wages.

1 answer  |  asked Nov 29, 2006 1:29 PM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (1)

Christopher Ezold
You are likely an employee, not a contractor.

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, you are likely an employee, not a contractor. As your employer appears to direct your work, provide your tools and dictate policy, you aappear to be an employee. You should be making at least minimum wage, and may be entitled to participate in various benefits plans that your employer may have (401k, medical insurance, etc.).

Generally, in Pennsylvania, an employer can hire, fire, discipline or change your pay at will, without any reason. Unless you had more than a 'promise' for 'guaranteed wages' you have no claim on the change to your wage structure. If, however, you had a written or verbal agreement, you may have a claim for breach of contract, regardless of whether you are an employee or contractor.

That being said, it is likely that damages are small, although without reviewing all your material and discussing the matter with you I cannot tell for sure. It is likely that a lawsuit will not be worth the time, money and effort put into it. It is far more likely that you will be better off finding a new position elsewhere.

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  |  Nov 29, 2006 1:50 PM [EST]

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