What can be done about a subcontractor who is working but not getting paid?

UPDATED: Aug 5, 2011

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What can be done about a subcontractor who is working but not getting paid?

My dad has been working for this company for almost 20 years as a subcontractor. Great quality work, always meets the deadline, and gets it right. He and his workers have finished several big projects and are still working on more, yet he is not getting paid. The owner of the company keeps saying I’ll pay you this day and this day and nothing is being given but the work is being done. Our bills are piling up along with his worker’s too. Who can we talk to to get this settled?

Asked on August 5, 2011 Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

One can be sympathetic for the company's plight--they do have bills, and it's tough to make payroll--or pay subcontractors and vendors--when cashflow is bad. However, that said, sympathy does not absolve the company of its legal responsibilities. If your dad did work for them, they have to pay him per the agreement (written or oral/verbal) between them. There is no legal excuse for not paying.

Unfortunately, if the company will not voluntary live up to its legal obligations, the only way to get the money would be to sue them--for smaller amounts, you could do it in small claims court, representing yourself, but for larger amounts, you should get a lawyer. Your father should probably take action soon or even immediately--if the company is running out of money, you don't want to wait until it's all gone. Your father should consider both filing a lawsuit and also asking the court to require that the money for the wages be deposited with the court pending the outcome of the suit, to make sure there will be money to pay him.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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