Legal Question in Employment Law in California

My husband was working as an independent contractor for a man and his company. He was let go over a month ago & still hasn't been given his final pay check. When he inquired about this, his employer sent him an invoice for "unauthorized credit card usage". This was for payments that my husband made, on behalf of his employer (the credit card holder) for work he performed. So, while he was employed, the credit card charges went to an account that the employer was aware of & was frequently updated about by my husband. Is this legal?

Asked on 5/20/13, 2:08 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Charles Perry Law Offices of Charles R. Perry

A threshold question is whether your husband is truly an independent contractor, or whether he was misclassified and should be treated as an employee. The rules for payment are very different.

An employer generally has an obligation to pay for expenses incurred on his or her behalf. If the charges are personal to the employee, however, the employer has the right to seek reimbursement.

Without more information, it is impossible to say anything more. Your husband's remedy would normally be in small claims court. If he is indeed an employee, then he may be able to proceed before the CA Labor Commissioner. A detailed interview of your husband would be required before telling you how to proceed. An employee-side labor lawyer in your area should be able to help.

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Answered on 5/20/13, 11:36 pm

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

If really an independent contractor, his remedy is to file suit in court for any money owed him under his contract. If he actually was, or now claims he was, an 'employee', then he can file a claim with the Labor Commissioner.

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Answered on 5/23/13, 1:44 pm

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