How to get back pay for work performed as an independent contractor?

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How to get back pay for work performed as an independent contractor?

I did over 9 hours of freelance work for an independent movie. On the job listing they offered $25/hour. I met with the director and producer and they confirmed that wage. I finished color-correcting the clip they gave me and returned to them. They gave feedback, took 1 file and said they’d get back to me with the rest of the movie. It’s been 3 weeks since then and I have made the changes they wanted. I’ve emailed them several times with no response. If they decide they don’t want more work can I still get my payment? If they don’t pay do I have any legal precedent and what can I do about it?

Asked on July 19, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If you had an agreement, including an oral or verbal agreement, to perform certain work for a certain wage, that agreement is enforceable. Therefore, if you did the work, they have to pay you, regardless of whether they want to hire you again in the future--future work or opportunities has no bearing on the obligation to pay for work actually done.

2) To get your money if they won't pay, you will have to sue them, unfortunately--there is no other mechanism to seek recourse or recovery. You could try suing in small claims court, where you do not need an attorney, where the rules are more relaxed/less technical, and where the filing fees are smaller. Good luck.


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