If I’m a subcontractor how can I get my pay from my employer?

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If I’m a subcontractor how can I get my pay from my employer?

I work for a contractor delivering retail freight. The company he’s contracted for filed bankruptcy. He states he can’t pay none of us drivers because the business went under and didn’t pay him. He owes us 2 checks now. Are there any options for us?

Asked on August 31, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the contractor you worked for: even if he was not paid, he is obligated to pay you if you did work for him. That fact he he was not paid had no bearing on his obligation(s) to you. Of course, if his business was an LLC or corporation and it goes out of business due to lack of funds, then even if you win the lawsuit, you will not be paid: a court order or judgment in your favor cannot make money appear when there is none. (If it is an LLC or corporation, you can only sue it; but if the business is a sole proprietorship, you can sue him personally, and so recover from his personal assets, such as his money in the bank or his house.) But still, despite the risk of insolvency, this is the only way you might be paid if he will not pay voluntarily. You would sue for "breach of contract"--for his not honoring the agreement, even if oral (not written) to pay you for your work. If the amount at stake is equal to or less than the limit for small claims, suing in small claims, as your own attorney ("pro se") to save on legal fees is a very good option.


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