Can I sue for wages if I didn’t have a contract with a modeling agency?

I did a modeling job for a company and they wrote the check to an agency I was not yet signed with. I did not sign with the agency because I found out they were illegitimate but they cashed my check. Now they will not give me any part of the money. The owner claims I have no case or right to the money since I did not sign a contract with them. What can I do?

Asked on March 7, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The owner is wrong: the law does not require a written contract for either an employee or an independent contractor to be paid. If you did work pursuant to an oral (sometimes mistakenly called verbal) agreement, then you have to be paid for the work. If you are not paid, you could try suing, including in small claims court, where you could act as your own attorney and save legal fees. You would need to prove the existence and terms of the agreement and that you did the work. You can use your own testimony, other witness testimony, any documents, texts, or emails, etc.

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