Who knows Texas labor law?

LittlestarsLittlestars Registered User regular
edited January 2016 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey there folks. So, listen. Late last year, October-ish, I was in some pretty dire straits. I had just gotten a new girlfriend who comes pre-packaged with a son. The key things to keep in mind with this post is that one: I love them to bits; two: we got bills, and they're multiplying; and three: I have serious, serious problems with dishonesty, disrespect, theft, manipulation, extortion, exploitation, you know, traits you might find in a lowlife shitfucker.

I don't have a lot of skills. Jobwise. I don't have a lengthy resume, I don't have any continued education, on paper I don't have a lot going on. If I were to say I was good at anything, it'd be computer repair and IT stuff. I'm no pro, but I do stuff and other people get the idea that I'm some kind of expert. So I met this guy in November who wanted to give me a job, he said. I go in and I find that it's contract. Basically $30 per job that yields $99 +tax or more to him (that rate was adjusted to $149 so that he'd still make more money after paying me), and $25 that yields $50 +tax to him. This is of course already unfair. Regardless of whether or not he gets paid for my work, certainly I should get paid, no? I would if I were hourly.

His idea was that he wanted me to do at least 10 jobs a week, which would come out to roughly minimum wage. I don't know of any computer repair shop that pays its people minimum wage. Nevermind that, I never had the opportunity to do 10 jobs a week because there were never that many to do. I'd crank out as many as I could, but what's always been the case is that I'd finish all the work, nothing left to do, still not having met the quota to make minimum-equivalent.

Here are some other things that bother me. My contract stated I was to provide my own tools, equipment, training, work my own schedule, and do the job however I wanted. As long as the end product made him money, that's satisfactory to the contract. Problem was he insisted on "giving advice" which seemed like training but was not beneficial, I had to use his tools, his shop, I had to work 9am-6pm, I couldn't take any work home. I worked 48 hours a week (at least, on one instance I stayed to 2am and another I stayed to 6am, one of these times was to do networking for a different company, a job I was not paid for but was made to do) and got less than minimum wage for it. That's hardly an independent contractor.

I would write my invoices and he'd pay them out in cash, unreported. That's shady. That's a fine for each instance. And that's if he pays them out. He still owes me $300+. Now, remember, I'd only get to bill for the jobs that paid out to him, so no matter what, the money should be there. Well, after I do all these jobs, he doesn't have the money to pay me, because over the weekend he went out of town, did some womanizing that he was more than happy to brag about, went on a shopping spree, and has the nerve to tell me that the company's broke and he can't pay me. Meanwhile, my girlfriend and I are broke and counting pocket change to make sure the baby has food.

Quick faqs
-This guy is almost never there. I do the work, he gets paid, he spends the money on him, can't make rent, can't pay me.
-This guy sold a stolen laptop. I say stolen; we were asked to repair a number of units and make them ready for use in a work setting. The best of the bunch was repaired and sold to a different customer (for too much), the original customer unaware of its absence.
-This guy, on multiple occasions, charged customers for doing almost nothing. A flat-rate service fee for a service that neither he nor I provided.
-This guy cannot stop talking shit about my girlfriend. The first two times I told him that it wouldn't be tolerated. Friday evening was the third time, and that's when I decided that I'd had enough.

So, I have to go find a job. Any job. Literally anything legit will pay more. But I'm also gearing up for war because I want to tear this guy down. I considered sabotage, but that is beneath me. I want to report him to whoever I can. I want him to pay me what he owes me. I want to make sure he doesn't rip off anymore customers or employees/"contractors" and on a more personal note I want him to know that I am resilient and will not be intimidated by him.

I'm doing my research on what options I have, and remembered that this community has been super helpful to others in the past so I thought I'd just poke some feelers out there and see if anyone could help out.

Many thanks. :)

Littlestars on


  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    Considering the amounts involved, your best bet is likely to sue for what he owes (i.e. your unpaid invoices) in small claims court. I don't know what the limit is in texas but assuming it's <$5000 you should be okay to go this route. It's quick, representing yourself is the norm and pretty easy (especially since it sounds like you documented your billable hours/work), and if he doesn't show you should easily win a default judgment.

    after you collect what he owes, you can report him to the police for client theft and/or to the labor commission or whatever regulatory authority texas has

  • LittlestarsLittlestars Registered User regular
    I've dealt with small claims before in Texas. The rule of thumb is that, typically, if you end up having to drag something into small claims, you're probably better off just walking away. Even if you get the decision, you can still get stiffed and I don't really have time for that.

    The reason I'm making a big deal about it being in Texas is because Texas has some pretty strong laws favoring employees and such. Despite the fact that I'm not an employee but a 1099, I'm sure the workforce commission would consider it an employer/employee relationship considering the non-compete (Texas also hates non-competes and often annuls them), the fact that I worked exclusively out of his shop during his hours using his tools and dealing with his customers.

    I still need to research it more. I know I have a case. I just need to talk to the right people.

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited January 2016
    Short Term: $300 isn't worth continuing to work with this guy. Report him to the authorities and go find a real job to pay the bills in the short term, even if that is in the service industry while you look for better employment in IT. If you are taking care of a child now your first priority should be the child, not pride or sticking to a certain field. Find something that gives you a steady, regular income at a company that is respectable and established. If you stay where you are you are likely going to be lumped into whatever problems this guy is going get for his shady practices. Working a cashier position right now is going to give you more real experience and income compared to what you are doing once taxes are taken into account. What you are doing now will sound really shady to most employers as far as work experience and seems much more like a "family" gig than something professional.

    Long Term: what do you mean by no continuing education? Does this mean HS only? Knowing your exact resume will help us give you the best pointers on what job fields, training, and employers to look for first.

    Enc on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Report him to the DoL of Texas, the US DoL, and the IRS for treating an employee like an independent contractor. Find a new job.

    You're likely to not get anywhere with small claims unless you can prove any of this. Time sheets, no checks/deposits, etc. Without those, you'll have a tough sell.

    If you can prove it, small claims is your best bet to get that $300.

    You should still report him. That contract is pretty much a CYA '1099' worker that's really an employer style thing. He set you up like that so he could fuck you over and also not have to pay your half of the payroll taxes. That money you earned that was barely minimum wage, technically you're supposed to be paying 20-30% of it to the IRS every quarter since you're a 1099 worker.

    Read this over:

    Here's Texas:

    Here's the US DoL:

    Here's the appropriate IRS forms you can fill out:

    ss8 is basically you going to the IRS and saying "hey I think this guy fucked me", that first one (3949-A) is basically you claiming that he didn't withhold your taxes properly, or other fraud reporting.

    Collect all the relevant paperwork you can find. You will need your contract that you signed in regards to that bring your own tools bullshit too. I hope you have a copy of that.

    You have a multitude of options here, the IRS will prevent this from happening again probably. You won't be able to keep your job if you still work there, but that's neither here nor there, you would be making more at walmart.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    QuidLittlestarsShadowfireOrthancCaptain MarcusEncThundyrkatzfirewaterword
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited January 2016
    Also minimum wage doesn't protect 1099 workers, he could pay you whatever he wanted since you're basically a business being asked to do work. You were purposefully mislead.

    Good luck OP.

    Edit: also, if you don't do any of the IRS stuff, they can come after you for 20% + fines of your salary if he reports your 'income' on a 1099-misc that he paid out (even if it includes that $300 he didn't pay you yet). I suspect he won't because he paid in cash, but, better to cover your bases because I suspect you wouldn't be able to pay out a few grand in back taxes and fines for missing your quarterly filing dates.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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