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Unpaid wages -- Independent contractor, Washington state

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  • Unpaid wages -- Independent contractor, Washington state

    I am in Washington state.

    I was employed by a Real Estate Appraisal office as an independent contractor. I did not have a written contract but I had been receiving 45% of each appraisal I completed. This money would be paid to me every two weeks as the business owner collected from the clients. She does not make an effort to collect her outstanding receivables and I am owed over $2500.

    In December 2006, the business owner terminated everyone in the office. She has sent a few checks to me but not many. On the last check she sent, she changed the percentage to 38% and stated that she had to do significant work to the appraisal. She has never done this on any other paycheck and did not explain what the 'significant' work entailed.

    I know I can take her to small claims over the $2500 but I have been told that she is not under an obligation to pay me until she collects from her clients. Would I be wasting my time in small claims? Since I am no longer in the office, I have no way of knowing if she receives the payments. Also, I have since learned from other appraisers that have worked for her; after termination, she fails to pay what she owes. Can I address the reduction of the percentage paid in small claims so that she does not reduce any more of my checks? The other employees that were terminated are also owed money ranging from $1500 to $3500 so this post will apply to them also.

    Any advice would be helpful. Thank you very much.

  • #2
    re: Unpaid wages -- Independent contractor, Washington state

    She does have a duty to make efforts to collect under your agreement so small claims would be ideal.

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