What to do if “hired” by a co-worker and not paid for your time?

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What to do if “hired” by a co-worker and not paid for your time?

My boyfriend started work last week with a company. He has been in training for the past 5 work days, riding with an employee on his route, and he submitted his W-2 and Social Security information directly to the driver, who said he had the job. This morning, we called the office and the owner/manager said that he knew nothing about the “hire” and that he was not responsible for any compensation. The driver was fired and my boyfriend is out of a job and now his time spent in the company truck working individual jobs on the driver’s route. Are there any laws to support a claim?

Asked on February 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not your boyfriend has a claim against the company for the week he spent working will depend on the situation and the driver's title and authority. If the driver actually had the authority to hire someone, or if his title was such that it was reasonable to expect he could hire (for example, his title was "driver supervisor" or "assistant manager" or something like that), the company would probably have to stand by his hiring at least as regards the time your boyfirend worked. However, even if the hiring was valid for that week, the company is under no obligation to continue the employment--employment, if there is no employment contract, is at will and someone could be fired at any time, such as after a week. At least though your boyfriend should get the week's pay.

If the driver did not have the authority to hire and his title was such that it was not reasonable to expect he could hire (for example, he was "just" a driver; normally, rank-and-file workers can't hire other workers), then your boyfriend has no claim against the company, though he could arguably sue the friend himself for his time.


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