Can I bring multiple small claims suits against an employer if they owe me for contract work and regular employment/reimbursable compensation?

My former employer first brought me in to do contract work which was completed. Then several months later they hired me on as a full-time employee. They began to make monthly payments on the contract work but then they stopped while I was a full-time employee. I just left the company 2 months ago and did receive my last paycheck, less vacation pay balance and 3 month’s of expenses. They are refusing to pay anything. The total amount owed for the contract and vacation/expenses exceeds my states $7500 limit. Can I take them to small cims court once for the contract work and once for the employee vacation and expenses?

Asked on May 25, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not bring separate suits for these amounts, because they arise out of essentially the same set of facts: the employer's failure to pay you all the compensation you are due for the work you did for them. The fact that part of that compensation was owed to you as an independent contractor, and the other part as an employee, does not change the fact that it was one wrong (not paying the amounts they owe) related to a single more-or-less continuos course of employent. Therefore, you need to bring this as a single action. You can either drop any amount over the small claims limit, or else sue for the full amount in your regular county court.

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