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  • Unpaid work that has been published

    Hi everyone,

    First post! My previous boss (Mr. B) referred me to this other company (Company X) where I was hired as an independent contractor to create press clips and I signed a 1099 with them. They were preparing a photo shoot for their next collection and Mr. B told me that retouches were in the budget and that I should just go ahead and start on the work as soon as I receive the files.

    We verbally agreed that I would be paid hourly. This entire transaction was discussed to me by Mr. B. I finally finished all the photos. There were so many because they didn't narrow it down to which ones they wanted specifically. If I had to guess, there probably 30+ images (10+ were portraits, the rest were of 2 or 3+ models per image) and I retouched them all. The total amount of hours spent on them is 73. I didn't even expect to get much from it (even though i provided professional quality retouching) but assumed I would be paid my regular hourly rate which is only $9. And it's not like they didn't know I was working on them, I would show people periodically, my progress.

    Long story short. My boss told me to come into his office one day and said that there was a misunderstanding between him and Company X and that I had to fib my hours because they were not going to pay me for the photos. I no longer work for Mr. B but have contacted the company stating how unfair this entire situation was and they blame it on my previous boss that he miscommunicated to me that I would be paid.

    I know this is a great lesson to be learned, deal your business yourself, but I'm wondering what I can do about this because the Company had 3 of those images published in a sort of industry-prominent magazine. I went back and forth between Mr. B and X and they both are pointing the fingers at each other but since the photos are the property of that Company, I sent them an invoice which they have ignored. I know a paralegal but he does not specialize in copyright but feels I have a good chance of getting my money and to be compensated for other "punitive damages," is it worth it to file a small claims case?
    Last edited by trieuchains; 03-10-2014, 08:44 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Unpaid work that has been published

    If you file a suit in small claims court and your client doesn't show up when he or she is supposed to, you'll win by default.

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    • #3
      Re: Unpaid work that has been published

      Originally posted by trieuchains View Post

      Long story short. My boss told me to come into his office one day and said that there was a misunderstanding between him and Company X and that I had to fib my hours because they were not going to pay me for the photos. I no longer work for Mr. B but have contacted the company stating how unfair this entire situation was and they blame it on my previous boss that he miscommunicated to me that I would be paid.
      If you're in the US you could probably report those scumbags to the IRS. There is no such thing as work that will not be compensated. It's difficult to collect with small claims court. I should clarify that. It's not like they would help you collect on a debt from a client, but they dislike companies that try to do things like mis-classify employees as contractors or call things internships.
      Last edited by klev; 03-10-2014, 11:18 PM.

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      • #4
        Re: Unpaid work that has been published

        Originally posted by trieuchains View Post
        We verbally agreed that I would be paid hourly. .........assumed I would be paid my regular hourly rate
        Couldn't help but go 'oh dear' when I read this. It's depressing, but you soon realise in business that if you assume that everyone (including people you think of as friends) is out to rip you off, it gets a lot easier to cover yourself with the correct paperwork - if you insist on a purchase order before starting any work. (you can always blame your accountant...'he insists I get a PO before I start any work') then it's much easier to prove what you're owed. If they're cagey about supplying a PO then think what they're going to be like when it comes to paying invoices - sometimes hard, but walk away if it doesn't seem right.

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        • #5
          Re: Unpaid work that has been published

          Originally posted by klev View Post
          If you're in the US you could probably report those scumbags to the IRS. There is no such thing as work that will not be compensated. It's difficult to collect with small claims court. I should clarify that. It's not like they would help you collect on a debt from a client, but they dislike companies that try to do things like mis-classify employees as contractors or call things internships.
          That's so funny because the company that later hired me first hired me to make press clips and then after this whole retouching incident started calling me their intern lol

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          • #6
            Re: Unpaid work that has been published

            Originally posted by trieuchains View Post
            That's so funny because the company that later hired me first hired me to make press clips and then after this whole retouching incident started calling me their intern lol
            I missed this quote before. I don't want to read into that, but I can't see anything positive in that change. They sound terrible. All you can really do is charge appropriately and ensure that your work conveys your talent and experience. I'm sure others have been in your situation.

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