I don't think I got your first response, but this is enough for me to go on.
Usually, unless there is a written agreement stating otherwise, an employee is considered "at-will". In Virginia, and throughout the United States, employment law
heavily favors the employer in most situations. Unless the employee has a contract which provides that the employee may only be terminated for cause, the law will hold that the employee's right to work
falls under the At Will
Doctrine. The At Will Doctrine provides that an employer may terminate an employee for any reason whatsoever, even if it is a false reason. The only limitation on this is that an employer may not terminate an employee because of discrimination
based on race, color, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age, or ancestry of the employee.
In your case, the employer made an offer to you to become a contractor, which in employment law terms is referring to an independent contractor. He held the opportunity open for you but it sounds to me that the employment offer was then modified to allow you to become an employee rather than an independent contractor.
However, it also seems that the switch over from an independent contractor to a payroll employee never took place and he terminated you before he ever put you on payroll.
As that is the case, you need to understand that all the money he paid you will be subject to self-employment taxes. So remember that when your taxes are due next year.
Interestingly, under Virginia law, I found a case which states that an at-will employee may claim wrongful termination
under the theory of promissory estoppel where the employee turns down other employment and incurs moving expenses. Widder v. Eagle Research Group,XXXXX 99 (1991).
Thus, it is possible for you to sue the employer here to recover your moving expenses (i.e., reliance damages).
Your case is not exactly clear cut because it does appear that the employer did at first honor the agreement. However, when he promised to transfer
you to payroll and failed to do so and also failed to pay you as you were originally promised, there is a definitely breach that I think is actionable under the law.
Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating positively does not cause an additional charge and does not prevent us from further discussing your questions.