Should I file a small claims court suit or file an unpaid wages claim?

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Should I file a small claims court suit or file an unpaid wages claim?

I’ve recently been notified that my former employer will not be paying my wages that are due to me. Let me preface this with, I am a website developer. I was hired on with an oral contract stating that I would be paid $1500/week for a 50 hour work week. I was also told that I would be paid a $5,000 bonus after completing 3 landing pages. I completed 8 landing pages within a week and asked to speak directly with the owner of the company. The owner of the company sent me his address and told me to come meet with him. I met with the owner of the company, and he had no interest in looking at the nearly 300 completed work, and when I brought up the bonus, he became enraged. He then proceeded to tell me to,

Asked on January 12, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you were actually an employee (i.e. paid on a W-2 basis), try filing a wage complaint with the state department of labor first; they may be able to help you for free. If they can't or won't help, you can always file a lawsuit (e.g. in small claims) next.
If you were paid as an independent contractor (e.g. on a 1099 basis), you'll have to sue: the dept. of labor only helps employees and deals with employer-employee issues.
If you sue, you can in that lawsuit also determine ownership if the intellectual property (the landing pages). 


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