Do I have to sign a contract and submit a w-9 to get paid? post employment

I am a video editor. I am having a major problem getting paid. I was terminated
2 weeks into a job because the editor that they wanted to initially hire became
available. So they replaced me. I was even told it was nothing wrong on my
part. There are plenty of emails about a promise to pay… with no pay yet and
payment date keeps getting pushed back. They then said I had to sign a
contract and w-9 before I get paid… which they sent me the day prior to me
being terminated. But this states that I am an independent contractor. I have
not signed either as I believed I was hired as an employee which is standard in
my industry. I think I am being misclassified as an independent contractor and
do not want to sign the contract which is also predated to the day I started the
job not two weeks later when I was replaced. I have filed a claim with the DRI
as this kind of behavior is rampant in my business. In the meantime I would
like to get paid. Do I have to sign their contract and submit a w-9 in order to
get paid? Thank you so much Also any other suggestions would be great
This is in California.

Asked on June 30, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The diference between being an employee for two weeks vs. being an independent contractor for two weeks is small, or even trivial: for example, if an employee not a contractor, they would have to pay the employer portion of social security and medicare taxes for you, but for only two weeks of pay, its a small amount of money. It's not clear that it's worth pressing a claim when you only worked for two weeks, since doing so will get you little and may hold up being paid. You may be better off doing what they want to get your money. (Especially since they do need the W-9 to process paying you.)
Note that whether a contractor or an employee, unless you had a written employment contract guarantying your employment, they could terminate you in favor of someone they wanted more.


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