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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 111657
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Customer Question

I would like to talk to a California lawyer who specializes in employment law dealing with an employee/contractor's pay and reimbursement pay. I am a contractor working on a project in California. I was working through an agency from Germany and the customer that hired the agency is also from Germany but the end client is in California. I have been rolled off the project because I didn't fly to the client because I was not getting paid as per the contract and I didn't have the money to continue to travel. I had paid for expenses 3 months and was going into month 4 and had not been reimbursed for expenses or paid for my time worked. I worked remotely but I did not travel. I knew I would always be 1 month in the hole and I was good with that. They are taking forever to get me a purchase order to enter now 4 weeks of expenses and my February pay. What are my rights for this company to pay and stop holding my pay hostage?
Debbie *****
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
You were an independent contractor? You are paid through a 1099? Did your contract provide for reimbursement?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
it did, invoices were due to the agency by the 10th of each month to be paid in 30 days. The contract included expense reimbursement and time worked.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I am an independent contractor
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Okay, because you are an independent contractor under a written contract, this would not come under the employment laws, but the contract laws. Under contract law, if they are not paying as required in the written terms of your contract and you have demanded payment, they are in breach of contract. You need to look at your contract for anything that says "choice of law" or "Choice of forum" or "arbitration" as that will dictate where you would have to file suit. If the contract was written such that German law applies or you have to file suit in Germany, that is what you are bound to and where you would have to file your suit against the company for breach of contract to collect your money due you.
If your contract is with the German company and agency, you would have to sue them in Germany, since you are merely assigned to work for the CA client and they are not in direct contract with you and this is known at law as "privity of contract" and you can sue someone only if you have a contract directly with them. So, if this is the German companies not paying, then that is who you have the privity of contract with and who you would have to file suit against for breach of contract. You can put pressure on them through their client in CA by letting the CA client know that they are not paying you as agreed upon, but legally if you are paid by the German company any legal action has to be against them for breach of contract and to get personal jurisdiction over them in a court that would have to be in Germany I am afraid.

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