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Employer failed to make payroll for three weeks, then terminated me Tennessee

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  • Employer failed to make payroll for three weeks, then terminated me Tennessee

    I live and work in Tennessee. Prior to this posting I had been employed as a subcontractor to a general contractor. I work in the remodeling industry. As their employee, I wore two hats. 1. Sales, cold calls to determine is customer was eligible for relief from insurance company. 2. Subcontractor, if there was any small job within a contract, myself and my crew would do the work on a customers home.

    Payment would be per the following schedule. 1. Sales, 10% of the deposit check, and 50/50 split of the net profit. 2. Labor, determined by job. Some jobs were hourly, some were per job.

    The problem.

    I brought to the company a contract valued at $55,000. For this job I bid the labor at $25,500. My employees and myself worked on this job for 7 weeks straight, at the end of each week I would turn in payroll, a check would be issued and I would then make payroll to my guys. On the 8th week, when payroll was turned in, a check was issued for half the amount that I had turned in. On the 9th and 10th weeks there was no payroll paid at all. I complained to them that we could not continue unless the payroll was caught up. Nevertheless, we showed up to finish what remained on the following Monday. When we arrived, we had been locked out of the job.

    Since that time, the job has been completed. Final pay from the customer has been remitted, and I received a bill from the company to pay for the final labor for the three days needed to complete the job. In addition to this bill there are several thousand dollars deductions from my payroll to satisfy their "needs" as a company.

    Fro weeks 7, 8, and 9, the total bill for labor turned in was $6,119.95
    My commission on the job should have been $5769.31

    With their final bill, they included a check for $1449.95, and asked me not to contact them for any remaining funds I felt were due.

    I dont know what to do. I have spent all the money I had to pay my own employees, and cannot live on the nothing I have left.

  • #2
    You can file a mechnic's lien on the property that was worked on. This is a lien on the property itself, and the owner is ultimately responsible for making sure the contractors/subcontractors get paid. You have a limited time in which to do this. I found a website that talks about Tennessee mechanics liens, at http://www.lienitnow.com/tennessee-faq.asp. I don't know if thier info is correct, and I'm not recommending them in any way if you decide to do business with them ( you need to decide if they are a good fit), but it's a good place to start for info on what you need to do. If you decide to hire someone to do the work for you, that's up to you, and you need to vett whomever you decide to use.

    You can also file a lawsuit against the contractor for breach of contract for what you would have been paid for completing the contract (not including work already done). You can probably do this in small claims court, you'll have to check your state's laws to find out what the dollar limit is for that. Nolo Press (www.nolo.com) has books on contract law as well as winning in small claims court. It also has articles (use the search feature) on mechanics' liens.

    You can also file a complaint with whatever state licensing board the general was registered with, but they won't be helping you get paid, they'll just look at disciplinary action.
    I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have begun the process of filing the mechanics and materialmens lien on the property. In response to my complaint, I got a letter of intent to counter-sue. No idea as to the what for, just the intent. Seems like a lot of hot air wasted, but no real threat.

      Additionally, I have learned that it is a misdemeanor for an employer to withhold wages earned from an employee.

      Comment


      • #4
        What For ?

        Originally posted by ta2mikeP View Post
        I have begun the process of filing the mechanics and materialmens lien on the property. In response to my complaint, I got a letter of intent to counter-sue. No idea as to the what for, just the intent. Seems like a lot of hot air wasted, but no real threat.

        Additionally, I have learned that it is a misdemeanor for an employer to withhold wages earned from an employee.

        You have begun the process of filing the mechanics lien on the property
        and you receive a letter of intent to counter-sue and you have no idea as to the what for?
        Well, to start with, the people you are suing have paid the contractor, they have paid their bill and THEY OWE YOU NOTHING.
        Your beef is with the contractor who stiffed you, but the law as it is written in many states allowes you to drag them into this mess, and I think that is just plain wrong!
        Whether or not their counter suite is "a lot of hot air and of no real threat" remains to be seen. I would however, suggest you take it a little more seriously until you have reason to believe otherwise, this could get exspencive and wind up being a long and drawn out affair..
        In the mean time, you'd all do well to hope the contractor doesn't file bankruptcy.
        Good Luck.
        .._________________
        ~Just about the time you get your s**t together,
        it hits the fan.....

        Comment


        • #5
          My first writing assignment in law school was on mechanic's liens. They were created because the subs got screwed too often. They're not unfair to the owner. The contractor/sub needs to post something on the door of the house that they're working on, giving notice to the homeowner that they are doing the work that benefits the owner. The owner needs to verify that the subs have been paid before paying the general contractor.
          I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by drruthless View Post
            You have begun the process of filing the mechanics lien on the property
            and you receive a letter of intent to counter-sue and you have no idea as to the what for?
            Well, to start with, the people you are suing have paid the contractor, they have paid their bill and THEY OWE YOU NOTHING.
            Your beef is with the contractor who stiffed you, but the law as it is written in many states allowes you to drag them into this mess, and I think that is just plain wrong!
            Whether or not their counter suite is "a lot of hot air and of no real threat" remains to be seen. I would however, suggest you take it a little more seriously until you have reason to believe otherwise, this could get exspencive and wind up being a long and drawn out affair..
            In the mean time, you'd all do well to hope the contractor doesn't file bankruptcy.
            Good Luck.
            .._________________
            ~Just about the time you get your s**t together,
            it hits the fan.....

            Yes, I got a letter from the owner of the property, an attorney himself, that should I continue with the process of filing a lien on his property, that he will then sue me.

            Why? I have no idea. I have done him, nor his company, nor his employees any ill will nor discord.

            Ultimately, when the owner of a piece of property signs a contract to exchange a given set of works in trade for a given sum of monies, it is then the owner of that properties responsibility to ensure that the monies exchanged go the the rightful people. Additionally, when you seek to gain a lien on a particular piece of property as a means of getting paid what you are due, there is no dragging. Notice was given them as a courtesy, prior to a summons. His property received all of the upgrades due him per contractual agreement. I did not receive monetary compensation for those works.

            Would you willingly give up three weeks of your salary, in addition to the same sum of lost monies required to pay 6 other employees for that same amount of time? That is somewhat like losing 21 weeks of salary. What would you do to recoup that kind of loss? Who would you be willing to "drag," and to where? The owner of the company, once served with notice, has the option to seek redress from the GC, via the bank and cancellation of that last check. Will that be done? More than likely not.

            In my way of thinking, IF this actually makes it to court, and I win, good. Whatever sum is declared to be in my favor is that much less the crook of a GC gets to have in their accounts. If I have to give a third of it to an attorney, that is fine as well. This is almost as much about the principality of the matter as much as it is about the money.

            Comment

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