unpaid wages-contract work

I have consulted for an X company in NYC for few weeks and I terminated my contract with them. According to the contract terms I have submitted all invoices and related termination letters to the COO of the CO. who I reported to. At that time he informed me (via email-which I have copies of) that he would be process all invoices ASAP.
Now it has been 30 days so I call their finance department of the co to find out the invoices were never submitted for processing. I have left messages and no one from the company is calling me back.
I have all the signed contracts and all the invoices with the COO's signatures/initial on them for acceptance of invoices. I also have all the email transitions relating to these issues. I have sent all the copies via cert mail (copies of Invoices totaling $5300.00, contract, and emails concerning my termination per our contract) to the COO when I resigned. I also have their signature of mail acceptance.

I am thinking of send the CEO of the company a letter informing them what is going on but I really not think this is going to get resolved.

How should I proceed with this issue?
All other consultants has been paid already that started the same time as me so I know there are personal reasons in his part for not paying me here.

Background info:
I had a meeting with the COO one day prior to the official contract termination date. At that time I have informed him that I resign as of that day. During our talk he verbally offered more hourly rate and also to give me total authority to manage a department if I continue working for him. So I did come back the next day. End of this business day he informed me he couldnt pay me what he has offered me. He reneged on his verbal offer so I resigned for the second time on that day.
This time around I made sure all invoices and contracts are signed and submitted via person and cert mail.
It has been 30 days since my termination of contract was sent out so they did have 30 days to contest my invoices but they did not. Also if they thought I did not do my job to their expectation they should have not signed off on any of my invoices I submitted.

I guess I need to find out what to do next.
If I have a case here, I would like to find out if an attorney who would take my case for the following conditions: I only want what is owe to me but all other court cost and attorney fees should be paid by the Co in question as part of the law suite.

1 answer  |  asked Oct 8, 2002 1:06 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Employee or Independent Contractor

There is a lot wording in your query which causes me to believe you are an independent contrator. But there is also some wording which causes me to believe you are an employee who the employer improperly classifies as an independent contractor to escape certain costs and to take advantage.

If you were really an independent contractor, your option would be to sue this company on contract, a very straight forward claim. Under NY law, indeed, probably the law in just about every state, in a straight contract case, you have to pay for your attorney and costs. You are not going to recover those things from this company.

Your contract claim may be too small for most attorneys to have any interest. You could go to court yourself. Your claim is $300 too big for small claims court (which is part of Civil Court), but you could go to NYC Civil Court.

If you were really treat like an employee on a day to day basis, but were not given the benefits of other employees, you could start proceedings under many differnt statutes. Whether that would be worthwhile will depend on the particulars of your situation.

In general, it is unlawful for employers to classify employees as independent contractors if all the employers want to due is avoid costs associated with having employees. If employers treat the contractors like employees, the employer must generally treat those contractor like employees.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Oct 9, 2002 10:07 AM [EST]

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