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no pay for work done Wisconsin

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  • no pay for work done Wisconsin

    I am an hourly wage earner for a company which makes large architectural stained glass windows for churches. A few of us employees were doing stained glass as a serious hobby, and once in awhile received a paid commission, before we were hired by the company. We have continued our avocation in our own in-home studios and were even encouraged by our employer. As we never did work for churches there was never a concern about our off-time work interfering with our employer's business. We did not advertise or solicit in any way. Our hopes were to produce pieces to sell in a gallery but we had not reached that point yet.
    Now our employer has had the idea of expanding the business into the residential market. The details of how the money from sales have not been worked out yet, (at least they have not been divulged to us) but what we have been told is that if we produce artwork, even our own designs made in our own studios on our own time, even if using our own bought and paid for materials, we will only be able to sell through the company (which of course will profit something from it). If we use our employer's studio to produce pieces for them to sell we cannot do it on the time clock. In other words, no matter where or how we produce our own artwork, the employer wants control of the sale with no remuneration for us other than, I'm assuming, an as-yet-to-be-determined percentage of the selling price.
    Naturally, my co-worker and I are uncomfortable with this arrangement. Our employer has asked for pictures of personal work we've already done to include in a brochure for the business's new endeavor - a request we have so far managed to put off. What choices do we have? If we refuse to contribute artwork for the studio to sell are we legally unable to sell our work at all? Can our employer legally prohibit what we do on our own time? Can our employer have us produce for the company without paying us to produce it?
    This new business venture is still in the developmental stage and I am trying to arm myself with facts in preparation for the next time the idea is discussed. Do we have any leverage?

  • #2
    I would recommend seeing an attorney versed in noncompete and intellectual property law. Theoretically, the employer could prohibit moonlighting at all, if they chose to.

    If you're thinking about starting a real business, you should have an attorney anyway.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.