Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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As a contractor your only remedy for a breach of contract is to file a civil lawsuit for breach of contract. If the amount is less than $5,000, you can sue in small claims court where the procedure is vastly simplified and the costs of litigation are much less. See here to get started.
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As a contractor your rights are only those which are provided for in your contract. You are not protected by state or federal labor laws. That said, if you had an agreement that you would be paid hourly for your time, your employer would be in breach of contract by not paying you for all the hours that you worked. This is also something you could pursue in your small claims suit.
Now, I think it's important to note that not just anyone can be classified as an independent contractor. Only when the worker has a large degree of independence in how they do their work would independent contractor status be appropriate. (See here for more information) If you can argue that your employment does not meet the criteria for contractor classification, then you have remedies under the labor code and can file a wage claim with the NY Dept. of Labor. (See here)
If it is determined that your employer misclassified you, they may also face a variety of penalties from the Department of Labor and IRS. Therefore, the threat of a misclassification claim gives you leverage to negotiate a resolution of this matter. Very often that is the best first course of action.
I hope this helps.
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