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Should I file a case? If so what one?

Discussion in 'Employment, Labor, Work Issues' started by Trbo323, Oct 24, 2018.

  1. Trbo323

    Trbo323 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    Ok so, little bit of a story here, sorry if this is a little long but thanks for reading

    Working with a previous employer, it was somewhat of a short term employment, contract jobs at first then to hourly, verbal contract only. the shop was in the process of moving. Worked hourly for about a month and a half, got a few paychecks. Employer wanted to bring me on full time at the new locationlbut but pay offer was very low so I said thanks but no thanks. About a week later the old shop closes and I ask for my final paycheck. Employer says he is too busy, it will have to wait etc etc. It is currently about a month and a half past my last day worked.

    Employer is now disputing my hours worked for the final paycheck (4 weeks). Saying they are not correct. Employer relied on me to keep track of my own hours as there was no way to track hours at the small shop.

    I kept track of my hours on my phone in a note taking app. Last edit date on the note lines up with the last day I worked

    I also worked a second job during the last 2 weeks I was at the shop, the hours I worked for the second job meant I had to work slightly different hours at the shop, these line up and I have a time sheet for the time I worked the second job

    For the first 2 weeks of the paycheck I have text messages between myself and my employer, I have to double check but I believe every single day that my recorded hours say I worked there are text messages talking about things that happened at the shop


    I should mention the employer also has some material of mine (air tanks), new value on them is around $400. They were supposed to go in for testing. Employer has told me that they are still in for testing when I have asked if I can come get them. I know the testing facility the employer typically uses and have called them, they do not have anything currently in by the employer. This has happened in the past, about a year ago where The employer told me the tanks I had then were still in for testing, after I got back from a trip I found out they were still at the shop, they had not even gone in for testing. I believe the same thing is happening here, employer says they are in for testing and there is a delay at the testing facility but they have not gone in yet and are still in employers possession

    So my question is what should I do? Currently it's roughly $1000 owed to me, $1400 if I count the air tanks as lost. I've never done much in the way of legal filing but if legal fees are going to rack up I don't want to get to the point where taking this to court will cost more than I could win if successful

    Currently I have full time work but not a lot in the bank account due to this whole mess.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    No one has the authority to tell you, an adult, what to do.
    You must decide what you wish to do.

    You were never an employee, based upon your recitation of events you were a contractor.

    Did you pay social security, medicare, state taxes, federal taxes?

    If the answer is yes, you were working under the table.

    That makes it less likely you'll succeed.

    Sometimes you cut your losses.

    If you were a contractor, your only recourse is to file a small claims case, if its money you wish to seek.

    If you prevail in small claims, you don't get money, you get a judgment.

    You ten try to collect on the judgment.

    Most people never see a dime of their judgment.

    You can send the person a letter and ask to be paid XXX dollars.

    If he has offered you YYY dollars, you might consider the old saying, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
     
  3. Trbo323

    Trbo323 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Is this a typo? The way it reads, if I WERE paying taxes on it I'm working under the table?

    The answer is no however, my wife and I will be claiming it as income when tax season rolls around but I doubt that matters currently
     
  4. Trbo323

    Trbo323 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    What about midiation or a lost wages claim? Do I have any options there?
     
  5. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    You file a claim for unpaid wages with the state.
     
  6. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    The filing fee is $55. See page 15:

    https://www.courts.oregon.gov/Documents/CircuitCourtFeeSchedule_eff-2017-10-01.pdf

    You might be able to serve by certified mail. If not, a process server shouldn't cost much more than $50. You can call around for prices.

    You don't get replacement cost on the tanks. You get depreciated value.

    If you want to avoid suing, file a wage claim with the state and claim you were illegally misclassified as an independent contractor (you probably were illegally misclassified). That should bring some heat down on your ex-boss.

    File a police report on the "stolen" tanks. Theft by "conversion" is a crime. The police might or might not do anything.

    Lesson for the future. The way to avoid the consequences of shady arrangements is not to get into them in the first place.
     
  7. Trbo323

    Trbo323 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the info, I do have a few questions

    I might be able to serve by classified mail? I'm confused on why there is a might in there, is this something the court decides ?

    I understand depreciated value on the tanks but who determines it? The industry these tanks are in, used prices range from $20 to $200 each. I have a good idea of what they are worth on the used market but I doubt they will just take my word for it. So how does assessing value work?

    The tanks part of my case I am expecting my employer will return mine just to avoid legal action but at this point I really doubt he will return them without at least reporting them stolen

    Lesson for the future heard loud and clear....
    About a month and a half ago
     
  8. Trbo323

    Trbo323 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Well, letters went off through certified mail today. Hopefully this can be resolved without involving the courts so we shall see

    Thanks for the help on this. I'll update as stuff happens
     
  9. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I said "might" because I didn't look it up. Your small claims website will tell you if certified mail is allowed.

    Probably not worth hiring an appraiser. Small claims court will often go off Craigslist ads or apply a percentage based on the age. The IRS has depreciation tables starting on Page 99 for a lot of industrial equipment:

    https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p946.pdf
     
  10. Trbo323

    Trbo323 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Well if certified works it works and if not I can do something else. I did make sure it is signature confirmed so I will get a email as long as he signs to receive it. Sent to new shop location which I know is a good address and a possible home address (I'm pretty sure he moved recently so that one may not go through but I figured it's best to try)
     
  11. Trbo323

    Trbo323 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My letter got through today. Employer contacted be via email and said to have my attorney contact him.

    I'm thinking he is just trying to make sure legal costs add up for me. Thoughts?
     
  12. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Exactly what he is doing.

    Either you sue him on your own or you hire a lawyer to do it but if you don't sue, all he will ever do is shine you on until you go away.
     
  13. Trbo323

    Trbo323 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Alright little update

    Through a few emails, employer is saying he will mail me a check with my "correct" worked hours on it

    There is no way for him to know what the correct hours are though because he was relying on me to keep my own hours as there was no time keeping devise at the shop and he was almost never at the shop while I was there. I asked where the error was in my listed hours or if he can send me the time sheet. He refused and told me the hours are not up for debate

    In the letter I sent I told him I am filling on the 20th so I am sticking to that, I don't know how the hours worked will play out

    The air tanks on the other hand, in our email exchange he stated that he sent tanks out for testing, had received them back and my tanks were not there and is accusing me if trying to get "free stuff" from him because I had to have taken my tanks before I left. Now, I have spoken with the facility that does the testing and they have not received anything from him in months, I'm in the process of getting at least a email from them confirming that they have not done any testing for him in months. So while he does not admit he has my tanks, he is clearly lying about sending things out.

    Any thoughts on that end of things?

    Thanks for all the help so far
     
  14. Trbo323

    Trbo323 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    New development,

    In the letter I wrote to my previous employer I gave him a deadline of today (Tuesday) for my submission to the state. Originally he said he would mail my check on Monday. I received an email from him this morning basically accusing me of stealing from the shop on my last day of work and he is therefore legally allowed to hold my final paycheck until his "items" (he doesn't actually say what he believes was stolen) are returned

    I should mention at the time of my last day of work the shop was in a different location than in currently is. He has since moved the shop and is only now claiming I stole from the old location which would have been nearly 3 months ago now.

    I have not replied to the email yet, do you guys think it would be wise to formulate a simple reply just so there is record of me denying the claims or just no reply at all?
     
  15. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Why deny anything?

    He won't believe you.

    If he contacts the police, even if they arrive, use your right to remain silent and demand a lawyer.

    Silence is your ally.

    Anything you say CAN and WILL be used against you in a court of law.
     
  16. Trbo323

    Trbo323 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Good point, thanks for the heads up
     
  17. Trbo323

    Trbo323 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Ok so, I've submitted to labor and industries, and have filed a police report. The officer I talked to was not much help as to what my next steps were.

    Is there anything between now and filing in small claims court? Do I need to do anything to move the paycheck claim along?
     
  18. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    The lengthy holiday hiatus is upon us, mate.

    Very little happens or moves along swiftly until AFTER the MLK Holiday in mid-January.

    Go with the flow, tis the season blah blah blah...
     
  19. Trbo323

    Trbo323 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Ok, but that didn't really answer my questions. Is there anything to move the wage claim along or anything before filing in small claims?
     
  20. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    No. There is nothing you can do to move the wage claim along.

    What makes you think you get to file a wage claim and file in small claims too?
     

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