What can be done about a subcontractor who is working but not getting paid?

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What can be done about a subcontractor who is working but not getting paid?

My dad has been working for this company for almost 20 years as a subcontractor. Great quality work, always meets the deadline, and gets it right. He and his workers have finished several big projects and are still working on more, yet he is not getting paid. The owner of the company keeps saying I’ll pay you this day and this day and nothing is being given but the work is being done. Our bills are piling up along with his worker’s too. Who can we talk to to get this settled?

Asked on August 5, 2011 Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

One can be sympathetic for the company's plight--they do have bills, and it's tough to make payroll--or pay subcontractors and vendors--when cashflow is bad. However, that said, sympathy does not absolve the company of its legal responsibilities. If your dad did work for them, they have to pay him per the agreement (written or oral/verbal) between them. There is no legal excuse for not paying.

Unfortunately, if the company will not voluntary live up to its legal obligations, the only way to get the money would be to sue them--for smaller amounts, you could do it in small claims court, representing yourself, but for larger amounts, you should get a lawyer. Your father should probably take action soon or even immediately--if the company is running out of money, you don't want to wait until it's all gone. Your father should consider both filing a lawsuit and also asking the court to require that the money for the wages be deposited with the court pending the outcome of the suit, to make sure there will be money to pay him.


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