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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12237
Experience:  Licensed attorney
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I worked as an independent contractor for a company called

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I worked as an independent contractor for a company called Lionbridge and the work done for Google. I worked 127 hours for $1715, they approved my work hours then they refused to pay me claiming that my work is similar to other worker. The other worker they are talking about is my next neighbor who I helped to apply for this job, then when he started worked I was giving him a training the first two hours he started working. After these two hours, they noticed that the work was similar and our addresses are very close so they terminated both of us right away. Then they refused to pay me all my money of $1715.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 1 year ago.

Brandon M. :

Hello there.

Customer:

hi

Brandon M. :

Hi, thank you for your question.

Customer:

you welcome

Brandon M. :

Something wasn't clear to me. Did you actually perform any work?

Customer:

Yeah, I worked 127 hours in 32 days

Brandon M. :

What sort of work did you do for them?

Customer:

I did online work evaluating search results for Google

Customer:

Lionbridge hire contractors to do the work for google

Brandon M. :

So what exactly is their theory for not paying you? Are they claiming that you and your neighbor duplicated your work--essentially billing them twice for the same job?

Customer:

no, their rule is no two people work from the same household

Brandon M. :

Was that rule in your contract with them?

Customer:

In the contract, they said if they discover that two people work fro the same house, you will be terminated

Customer:

but me and my neighbor worked from two different houses and two different connections

Customer:

however, my neighbor worked only for three hours and got terminated but I was already with them for about forty days

Brandon M. :

Yes, I see the concern. From a legal standpoint, I'm not clear on how they would justify that action. Larger organizations oftentimes take very aggressive legal posturing and then fold like a deck of cards if actually taken to court. Perhaps their rationale is that "same household" is understood to mean adjacent households as well, but that would normally be a tremendous stretch. You're obviously not under the same roof--how did they explain their position?

Customer:

This is their last email

Customer:

Dear Affaf,


 


We have noticed that your work was of the same nature as another rater on the program. As your work MUST be of an individual nature we are not in a position to release this payment.


 


Kind Regards,


Edel Lionbridge Finance Team.

Brandon M. :

Ok, here's what I can tell you. I should start by saying that because the nuances of every situation are different, this information should not be construed as complete or advice without having your agreement and subsequent communications reviewed in person by legal counsel. That said, this is exactly the sort of situation that courts were designed to handle. They say that you breached the agreement and you say that you didn't. There is a civil dispute, and the courts are designed to settle that sort of dispute. Michigan small claims can handle disputes up to $5,000, so you can likely dispose of such a dispute quickly and easily.

So there is no way to guarantee an outcome without reviewing the case in person, but I would strongly recommend that you examine the option of small claims.

Customer:

Read their contract in regard to this situation

Customer:

Either Company or Contractor may terminate this Agreement and/or the applicable Task


immediately in the event of a material breach of the Agreement which is not remedied within


fifteen (15) days of written notice to the other of such breach. In the event of fraud, Company


may terminate this Agreement or any Task immediately. In addition, Company may terminate


this Agreement and any Task for convenience (i.e., for no reason) upon one day’s prior written


notice.


If Contractor is unable to carry out his duties in the matter provided for in this Agreement


due to incapacity, illness or for any other reason Company will be entitled to treat this Agreement


as frustrated and accordingly terminated.


All work related to this contract must be performed through a Task. A Task may be


canceled at anytime by Company for any reason, and Company shall pay for Services performed


in accordance with this Agreement up to the effective date of termination.

Brandon M. :

Let me discuss what I don't see in that portion of the agreement. I don't see a liquidation clause. A liquidation clause specifies what damages a party is entitled to receive in the event of a breach. For example, a liquidation clause might specify that if you materially breached the contract, they would be entitled to recover all monies paid to you over the course of the contract. Is there anything like that?

Customer:

no

Customer:

All they say is that you will be terminated

Customer:

they never say about not getting paid

Brandon M. :

In that case, my previous answer really doesn't change. You have told me that you contracted to do some work for Google. For 127 hours time, they agreed to compensate you $1,715. You performed 127 hours worth of work, and they refused to pay you even though they received the benefit of the work. Does that sound about right?

Customer:

exactly

Customer:

They also sent me an email approving all my work hours

Customer:

So they acknowledge that I worked 127 hours and that they owe me $1715 but they say we will not pay you

Brandon M. :

Well, it really sounds pretty straightforward. There's a legal concept called "unjust enrichment". Imagine if you hired someone to paint your house yellow for $1,000.The house needs to be coated with primer before the final coat of paint can be applied. The painter purchases $500 worth of primer and applies primer to the entire house. You then terminate the contract for cause (pretend the painter did something wrong). Your house would have $500 worth of primer applied to it--that has value, and it would be unjust enrichment to not have to compensate the painter for that work performed even if the contract was not fully executed.

Brandon M. :

So my question for this case is: even if you did duplicate the work, why wouldn't Google be obligated to pay for the work already performed?

Brandon M. :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

Suppose that I commit a fraud as they say, can they base their judgment on about three hours that the worker did

Customer:

Also, if the work is duplicate, I told them that I agree to pay me for one of the work

Brandon M. :

I didn't see that they accused you of fraud. Did they accuse you of fraud?

Customer:

also, Google already paid them because Google doesn't care about all that

Customer:

yes, that's what they are talking about, they said I commit a fraud by having two accounts

Customer:

They didn't say it explicitly but that's what they mean

Brandon M. :

Well, that's their opinion, but it doesn't necessarily mean it is the right one. They're clearly not interested in negotiating with you at this point, so the question that remains is whether you want to go through the energy of taking legal action. A lot of people aren't interested in the stress of going to court, but small claims is very user-friendly. I do suggest that you look into that option.

Customer:

do I have to have a lawyer

Brandon M. :

Naturally, in an ideal world, everyone would have a lawyer. However, small claims is specifically designed for people without an attorney. It is very informal.

Customer:

ok, If I live in Michigan and the company based in MA, Can I go to Michigan court

Brandon M. :

Well, there can be more than one venue to bring a civil cause of action, especially when a corporation is involved. You did the work in MI, and Google as a presence in MI. When a company purposefully avails itself to a state like Google has to Michigan, that would allow suit to be brought against them in Michigan under normal circumstances. Was anything in the contract about where suit could be brought?

Customer:

I will not file against Google because Google already paid them for the work I have done

Customer:

I will file against Lionbridge

Brandon M. :

I apologize... I was unclear of the relationship between Google and Lionbridge. Please forgive my ignorance. I know the law and contracts, but I really know nothing about the tech sector.

Brandon M. :

God help me if I had to do what you do for a living.

Customer:

Add to that when you do all that work, they don't get paid

Brandon M. :

So, let's talk just a bit more about venue. Was there anything in the contract about where the suit could be brought?

Customer:

no

Brandon M. :

Thank you for that clarification. Sometimes a contract will specify the venue where disputes have to be settled, and I just wanted to make sure that such a limitation wasn't in your contract. I apologize for all the questions and I thank you for your patience--it is like showing you a picture of an elephant trunk and asking you to identify to what animal it belongs--you could say with great confidence that it is probably a trunk of an elephant, but without examining the animal to which it is attached you could not say for certain. So, thank you for understanding that my answer is not based on complete information and should therefore not be relied upon as complete. But with that information, I believe that the venue question has been resolved.

Customer:

I apologize for wasting so much of your time

Brandon M. :

Another reason that small claims is attractive is that the filing fee is small. The maximum fee is $65. For claims worth $600 to $1,750, the fee is only $45.

Brandon M. :

I don't feel that it was a waste.

Customer:

Forget about that, I have another very important question before I file a laim

Customer:

I was trying to scare them


I have a friend who works in a hospital and I let my friend to give me a letter from the hospital that I have been hospitalized from 09/05/2013 to 09/13/2013 for mild stroke and the costs were $13567.


I tried to scare them yesterday and sent them an email that if they don’t pay me, I’m going to move forward with a legal action and I will ask even for the medical costs because I went to the hospital after they refused to pay me and I sent them a copy of that letter.


They called me today and said they called the hospital and they told them that I was not there and they have no knowledge about that letter, so they told me this is a criminal charge and they can file a federal charge against me.


Can they hold this against me in the court?

Brandon M. :

You wanted to know what options were available to resolve a contract dispute in the amount of $1,715 in Michigan. If resolution can't be reached, the option is to go to small claims. Even if the answer is simple, it's still useful. People are scared of the legal process, and it would be unfortunate if a corporation got away with breaching a contract simply because they're big and bad.

Ok, let's talk about this new issue now...

Brandon M. :

First, you said that your friend wrote this letter for you, but you did not say whether the information in the letter was true. Were you or were you not hospitalized for a mild stroke?

Customer:

I was not, the letter was fake, I just tried to scare them that if they don't pay me $1715, I will move with a legal action then I will ask for the medical costs also

Customer:

but they were not stupid and they called the hospital

Brandon M. :

Did you actually say that the mild stroke was suffered as a result of their failure to pay?

Customer:

yeah

Customer:

I just tried to scare them

Customer:

I'm trying to get my money in any possible way, I worked hard for that money

Brandon M. :

Well, that wasn't smart or helpful. It won't help your case. I doubt that law enforcement would be interested in investigating the matter simply because they historically view those sorts of statements as civil in nature. Frankly, 80% of the population is probably guilty of making that sort of statement at some point in their lives, and it just doesn't serve justice to prosecute when there is no threat of property damage or physical harm. So I wouldn't do it again, but I doubt that law enforcement would take any interest in the matter. As for whether it would give them a leg-up in a lawsuit against them, I'm not clear on why it would be relevant to the question of whether they breached their contract. So it won't necessarily hurt you, but it clearly won't help either.

Customer:

so they can't file a criminal charge against me for that

Brandon M. :

It's not up to the individual. Law enforcement makes the decision to file criminal charges. Individuals do not have the power to bring the power of the state's criminal justice system upon someone. The individual can only ask to file a report. The report is sent to the District Attorney's office (or, in federal cases, to the Attorney General's Office), and that office decides (1) if a crime was actually committed, (2) if there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed, and (3) if justice would be served by prosecuting the crime. Unless all three criteria are met, nothing happens.

Customer:

I'm really sorry Brandon

Customer:

Thank you very much for your time

Brandon M. :

I wish you well. Good night.

Customer:

Good night

Customer:

brandon

Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12237
Experience: Licensed attorney
Brandon M. and 8 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 1 year ago.
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