Can my commpany sue for wrongful termination?

I am a small business owner who was subcontracting for a larger company. I was pushed to get minority certified for a big project at an international airport. After I was certified, it took months for my crew to get to work on the

project as other crews were already there working under my certificate. When we finally got to work on the project, getting paid was a challenge. We ended up doing a small project on our own and shortly after was let go by the other company. They are still holding money for work completed. Since this happened at the slow time for our area and following a major hurricane we are in danger of closing our doors. How can we recover what is owed to

us so we can stay in business?

Asked on October 5, 2017 under Business Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

"Wrongful termination" does not apply to contractors or subcontractors--only employees may be wrongfully terminated, so any protections that may be applicable to employees are inapplicable here (not that there are many employee protections; the law of our nation is "employment at will"). What you can do is sue for breach of contract:
1) For any work you completed, they must pay you. There was an agreement or contract, whether written or unwritten (though written is better; easier to prove its existence and terms) under which you agreed to do work and they agreed to pay you. Since you upheld or fulfilled your obligations--you did the work--they are reciprocally obligated to fulfill their obligations and pay; if the don't, you sue them for the money based on breach of contract.
2) IF there was a written contract which guaranteed you additional work (either specific projects or work for a certain length of time) and they have violated that by not providing said work, you can sue for the profit you would have made for that future work under a breach of contract theory, too. But note: it must be pursuant to a written contract guarantying the extra work. With an oral agreement, or a written contract not guarantying additional or future work, they are free to terminate the relationship/contract and not use you at any time, subject on to the obligation, per 1) above, to pay for any work already done.


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