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The company still owed me a money. But I was not their employee. I worked like Contractor.

Portland, OR |

How can I take legal action against the company in this situation?

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Attorney answers 3


Your question fails to provide enough information. However, there are two types of typical cases that result from such a situation. First, a lawsuit to essentially create an employment situation, and second a lawsuit for violation of a contract. Most try to attack in the former if the facts allow because the law allows for penalties to the employee, plus costs and attorney fees. The latter, depending upon the amount of the claim, may also include costs and attorney fees, but no penalties. There is a specific test to determine whether you are an employee and not an independent contractor. The test varies depending upon whether you are filing under state or federal wage and hour laws.

Information is provided to assist the reader in forming questions and allow them to take full advantage of a consultation with the attorney of their choice. Schuck Law, LLC does not provide legal advice to individuals who have not signed a written fee agreement with the firm. The facts, which were not disclosed in the written question may change the advice, if any, that would be rendered by the attorneys at Schuck Law, LLC. For these and other reasons, Schuck Law, LLC is not responsible for any damages caused by the reader's use, mis-use, or interpretation of the information provided herein.


As my colleague Mr. Schuck explained, even if both you and the company presumed you were working as a contractor, the law may treat you as an employee and thus you may have additional rights beyond that of any breach of contract. Thus, an evaluation of whether you can be classified as an employee should be your first step.

Then, investigating the terms of your contract and how much you're still owed will determine the process for going forward with filing an action in court -- you may be required to file a small claims action, you may be required to file in Circuit Court, you may need to go through an arbitration proceeding, or you may have a choice as to any of those options.

Small contract claims -- i.e., between $600 and $10,000 -- can provide for an award of attorney fees to the prevailing party, and thus many attorneys will consider handling such matters on a contingency fee basis.

You should contact an attorney in your area and schedule a consultation to consider your options.

If you found this answer helpful, please click the "Mark as good answer" button, below. If you'd like to contact me regarding potentially representing you with regards to your legal matter, please click on my profile and give my office a call. My answer to your Avvo question, however, is informational only and is not intended to be legal advice, nor does it form the basis for any attorney-client relationship whatsoever, which can only be formed upon signing an Engagement Agreement and depositing a Retainer Fee into client trust. Further, I am only licensed in Oregon and laws vary from state to state. If you have an Oregon-related issue, feel free to contact me for a consultation. If you are outside of Oregon, please consult an attorney in your area for legal advice.


One other factor to consider: it is not easy to establish status as an independent contractor. Sometimes people who provide services are treated as contractors when the relationship really is that of employer-employee. The IRS, Oregon Department of Revenue, SAIF, and BOLI rules set specific requirements for such a status to be recognized.

If you were improperly categorized as an independent contractor, the consequences to the employer can be substantial, and recognition of that issue might motivate more effort in finding a way to pay you.

This comment is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship and obviously is not confidential. You should contact an attorney in your area who can review with you all of the relevant facts and give you specific legal advice.