How can I collect money promised to me for assisting a friend in his work at his place of employment?

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How can I collect money promised to me for assisting a friend in his work at his place of employment?

A friend offered to pay me under the table to assist him in his work. After a few weeks he stopped working alongside me and had me take over the full job working out of the company office, handling their files and checks. Those working in the office knew about the situation and I was recieving 1/5 of what he was getting paid although I was doing 100% of his work. He is now refusing to pay me. What are my options? Can I go after him as well as the company?

Asked on July 12, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, you would not have a cause of action against the company--they did not hire you. They hired your friend, who then essentially subcontracted to you. The company does not care how he got the job done or who did it for him--they hired him to do a job, he got it done somehow (i.e. by having you do it). Since you were a subcontractor (or employee) of your friend, not the company, you have no cause of action against them.

Second, you can enforce the terms under which you were working for your friend against your friend; however, you can't force him to be "fair." So if you were being paid, for example, $100 a week as a flat rate to help him, you can force him to pay that $100 per week--but you can't make him pay more. If you felt you were being taken advantage of, your recourse was to quit. On the other hand though, if you were paid an hourly rate by your friend, you should be paid for all hours worked, so as he added work or hours to you, you'd be paid more. Or if you were paid on some project or piece work basis and you completed more pieces or projects, you should be paid for the work you did. So you can force your friend to pay you what he was obligated to per the terms you worked under, but you can't force him to pay more than that, even if in retrospect, he took advantage of you.


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