I have worked for a Small Family owned company for 8½ years as a W-2 employee and a Contractor in the data processing department. My W-2 salary was the lower equivalent of a Data processor and not what anyone would pay for a Programmer/Software Engineer with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. Also, there was no written contact related to assignment of duty. They have tried numerous times to undercut my W-2 and keep me as a contractor in order to gain money by eliminating the need to pay me on W-2 and just pay me when they need my services via contract. On 11-02-07 they changed the locks to my office and all entrance codes without informing me of any changes in my job status. Their new private contractor had finally designed some applications that would eliminate my jobs completely. After realizing that they could not completely perform my job assignments, they started to make threats and falsely accuse me of sabotaging their systems. Also, telling other businesses false information about me. Plz Help
Optional Information: Hosuton, TX, United StatesAlready Tried: Friends/Lawers
The general rule is that when someone is hired as either an employee or a contractor, and is paid for work, the work they do is considered "work-for-hire" and is the property of the employer, regardless of whether there is a contract or not (although a contract can stipulate something different if the parties decide to do so).
However, if the employer did not pay or made any representations that the product created would be your property, then you may be able to file a civil suit against them for either additional money or ownership - but that is something only an attorney who fully questions you about the facts involved and reviews all circumstances of the case can tell you.
Also, if the "false information" you say they are saying about you is preventing you from being rehired or otherwise damaging your reputation, you may be able to file a civil suit for Defamation against them. A defamation suit normally requires that a party state or print, to others, lies, that harm the reputation or character of a person. Again, you will need to speak to an attorney about all facts invovled.
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