What to do about unpaid wages?

I went to work for a petting zoo. The agreement was $400 a week plus and extra $100 for pulling a 16 ft trailer with my truck. I filled up my truck which cost me $80, per her asking me too. So, she owes me for the gas, plus 5 days of working for her. Her paper she gave me says shes an independent contractor. By rules on TWC, I dont think she is. I would like to know if I have a case worth trying. She has a history of doing this to her help. I’m guessing to get free labor.

Asked on July 30, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Even if you are an independent contractor, you are entitled to be paid, as per the agreement (whether written or oral) between you and your employer for all the work you did. So if you did a week of work, you need to be paid at whatever rate you and she had agreed to. You could sue her, such as in small claims court (where you can act as your own attorney) for the money she owes you. If there was an agreement that she would pay for the gasoline in the truck, you could sue for that, too.

Note that whether she is an independent contractor has no bearing at all on her obligation to pay: if she made an agreement with you to pay you for work, she must pay.

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