If I did a job for a company and now they won’t pay me, what can I do?

UPDATED: Jan 27, 2011

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If I did a job for a company and now they won’t pay me, what can I do?

I was hired by a site manager of an apartment complex to do a brick laying job and to put designer bricks down for flower beds. The apartment manager has been fired, and the company won’t respond to my billing, phone calls, or my letters? This job was done on a verbal agreement between me and the site manager. Can I legally go and remove my bricks from their site or do I have to go to small claims court?

Asked on January 27, 2011 under Business Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) Do NOT remove the bricks--doing so would be theft and trespassing. Pelople are not allowed to "self help" to collect when they feel they've not been paid.

2) If you were not paid, you can sue for payment. Since the agreement was verbal or oral, it may be difficult to prove the terms of the agreement--i.e., it may be hard to show what you should be paid, especially if that manager is no longer there. (Though note: you can subpoena him to testify even if he no longer works there.) However, that's a factual matter--what evidence can you muster of what you ought to have been paid. Legally, the correct mechanism for being paid is to sue for breach of contract. Good luck.

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