I’m an independent contractor, can I sue a company for unpaid wages?

I work from home for a company as an independent contractor. I voluntarily

ended my contract last month. Most of my invoices for last month have been rejected and as of right now I’m not expected to get paid for the hours the company has rejected. In my termination email, the project managers told me that I will be paid for the work I did in May. The project managers that coordinate the project didn’t tell me why they rejected my invoices. I’ve tried contacting managers to try to resolve the issue and no one is responding to me. All contractors get paid on the 14th of each month, so I’m trying to resolve this issue before payday next week. I want to file a lawsuit in small claims court if I don’t get paid for all the work I did last month. The problem is I live in TX but the company I work for is based in WA. Also, I don’t

know who to sue. I don’t know if I should sue the whole company or the project

managers. I was hoping to get advice before I go through with a suit.

Asked on June 7, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Legally yes, you can sue for unpaid wages: you have to be paid, as per the agreement between you (e.g. as to how much you'd be paid for certain work) for all work you provably did. 
Practically, you will have a difficulty: small claims court is a court of local jurisdiction: a TX small claims court will not have power over a WA defendant. You will have to sue in "regular" county court, which will make the matter slower, more expensive, and more complicated; furthermore, while county court has power over defendants in other states, it adds to the complication and expense when you sue an out-of-state defendant. You will have to weigh whether the amount you are owed justifies the effort and expense of a non-small claims, out-of-state lawsuit.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Legally yes, you can sue for unpaid wages: you have to be paid, as per the agreement between you (e.g. as to how much you'd be paid for certain work) for all work you provably did. 
Practically, you will have a difficulty: small claims court is a court of local jurisdiction: a TX small claims court will not have power over a WA defendant. You will have to sue in "regular" county court, which will make the matter slower, more expensive, and more complicated; furthermore, while county court has power over defendants in other states, it adds to the complication and expense when you sue an out-of-state defendant. You will have to weigh whether the amount you are owed justifies the effort and expense of a non-small claims, out-of-state lawsuit.


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