How to get compensated for work performed?

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How to get compensated for work performed?

I was hired to do graphic design for a video game company that’s a start-up. I was told that once there was money to be had, I’d be paid. However, I’ve been terminated and its asking for all my work up to this point. It wants me to destroy all my copies. All without payment. What can I do? Do I have to give them anything? Also, they are still using my logo. Can I make them stop?

Asked on January 31, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If there's an agreement (e.g. a written service agreement or contract) between you and the company, you and they both need to follow its terms. Otherwise:

1) You may sue for money due you for work which you did; however, suing may be the only mechanism for recovering those funds. (If you were an employee, see point (2), below, you may be able to file a complaint or claim with your state labor department, but they are often overworked and unable to effectively help, especially if it's a single employee's complaint.)

2) If yoyu were an actual employee, then the work does belong to them, regardless of whether you were paid or not; it was work product of your employment. You may still take action to pay.

3) If you were an independent contractor, you do not need to turn anything over to them until paid.If they breach their contract by not paying, you don't need to give them the work.

4) See (2) and (3) re: the logo--if you were an employee, they can use it; if you were an independent contractor, they can't legally use it without paying and you could sue them to make them stop and/or for compensation.


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