What are our rights if I work for a telecommunication company and there are 7 of us who haven’t been paid in over 2 weeks?

Several of the guys have company assets such as trucks, tools etc. but we haven’t been asked to turn them in yet. We all signed our offer letters/contracts stating that we are to be paid salary once every week at $1328, so we are all owed approximately $3,000- $4,000 right now. Our contract is an “at will” contract and they can terminate us at any time for any reason, however it also forbids us from working for any other telecom company for a period of one year. Our salary for the year is approximately $70,000 and we are all flat broke right now with bills stacking up.

Asked on July 4, 2014 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

1) If you did the work you were supposed to do, you *must* be paid--even if your employment has since been terminated, you must be paid for all work done prior to that. If you had employment contracts, to not pay you is breach of contract; if you employees (rather than independent contractors, working under 1099s), paying you is also required by employment law. If you are employees, not contractors, you can contact you state department of labor to see if they will help; you could also file a lawsuit seeking your wages (you could file it together, to minimize costs). A lawsuit is also your option is you were contractors.

2) A noncompetition clause like the one you describe generally only applies if *you* voluntarily leave work or are fired "for cause" (i.e. for wrongdoing). If the company terminates your employment not for cause, you would typically not be held to a noncompetition. (Legally, the reason is that the termination means there is no "consideration," or something of value, given you in exchange for the agreement to not work elsewhere; morally and as a matter of social policy, companies can't fire people then prevent them from supporting themselves and their families).


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