Legal Question in Employment Law in California

I was called and asked if I wanted to do some work for this company. I said yes and was told the job and I did it. went to get paid and the owner said I got more work so I went and did it.. went to turn in my bills and the owner said not paying till the job is done and told me more stuff to do this continued for over a month and 100 hours when all was said and done I hand the owner 6 invoices totaling 1800 dollars and he hands me a check for 600 and we argue and he says get out of my office before i call the police,, what do I do ..i read some where that calif has this handyman law about only getting 500 for a job even if the job continues.. I did not solicit this job they called me and Im getting screwed,, can you help me out with some code or law or anything to take to small claims court to help me get my money...Im a poor student and this guy is a rich property manager with over 250 properties.

Asked on 1/17/13, 3:53 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

People that hire themselves out for work or conduct business should learn the laws that apply.

If you were an 'employee' hired by a company, you can file a claim for unpaid wages with the Labor Commissioner, including penalties and interest for non payment.

If instead you were agreeing to work as a 'contractor', you need a contractor's license. If that is the case, you can sue for your contract price if you can prove your claim in court.

If you are not a licensed contractor [which seems likely since they had to learn and know all these legal requirements to pass the license test], but are only a 'handyman', then you can only legally bid on projects of $500 or less without committing a crime, and can only sue for up to that amount on any given seperate project. You can file suit in small claims court for each project if you can prove your claim.

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Answered on 1/17/13, 4:20 pm

Charles Perry Law Offices of Charles R. Perry

Mr. Nelson gives you the key issue here. Was your work all part of a single project, or was it part of multiple projects? It's not possible to tell from the information your provide.

The key statute, by the way, is Section 7048 of the California Business and Professions Code.

The other question is whether the work you did would have required a General Contractors' License. If it did not require that license, then the statute above does not apply. Since you don't describe what you did, it's impossible to know if you needed the license.

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Answered on 1/18/13, 12:47 am

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