Did you sign some kind of finders fee agreement WITH THE BUSINESS that has now gone out of business? It doesn't make sense for you to have to pay anything to a company that no longer exists.
That said, the exact language and details of any agreement you entered into with the previous employer make all the difference. Please consult with an employment law attorney who can review the actual language the former employer is relying on.
To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.cela.org. Click on "Find a CELA Member" and you can search by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state.
I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.
twitter.com/MikaSpencer *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***
Based on the facts you have provided, I see no obligation to pay a finder's fee. (It appears your old bosses are trying to intimidate you without legal justification.)
This information does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
As Ms. Spencer has said, your agreement with your old bosses is key here. You would have to pay only if there is a contractual agreement between you and the old bosses. It wouldn't shock me to learn that some bosses in the caregiving industry might try to take advantage of a caregiver by claiming a "finders fees" even if there is no contractual right.
Ms. Spencer is in the San Diego area, and a quick consultation with her could be a big help to you.
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