My question involves independent contractors in the state of: Oklahoma.
I'm a paper carrier for a major paper here in Oklahoma City. It is an independent contractor position and I have a similar problem described elsewhere, except in my case the late pay is on the order of weeks, dealing with supervisor that fails to inform me (and others) of important information and other things that I cant quickly describe. Paydays are described as 'No later than the 10th of each month" with the last day of the previous month as the end of the pay period. I will try to make this as clear and short as possible.
To make it easier her is a time line:
05/26 -- Started work
06/06 -- Was informed of need for contract and signed them.
Asked for copies of contract.
06/07 -- Everybody received pay checks (settlement checks). I was not owed one at time.
06/28 -- Supervisor advised me that they needed an Motor Vehicle Report as well. (33 days after starting work.
07/07 -- Turned in MVR.
07/09 -- Everybody received Settlement Checks. I did not receive mine.
07/15 -- Supervisor had me re-sign contracts (so she would not get in trouble for turning in late).
07/31 -- Received payment by being issued a check from a 'Refund' account.
08/07 -- unknown to me - Everybody received settlement checks I did not receive mine.
08/08 -- I asked when checks would arrive. Was told they were to be a day late.
08/09 -- Discovered everybody got checks. I asked why I did not.
08/12 -- Vehicle breakdown. Without check cannot fix.
08/16 -- Still no check
Keep the above in mind.
A. (6/28) When i first was told i needed an MVR report (4 weeks after I started) I asked if that would slow down or delay my pay. I was told that NO it would not because the contract would still be processed, but I could not pick up my check without the MVR report.
B. (7/31) My first check was 24 days late, and it was not later; only because my supervisor and her boss had cut me a check 'By Hand' for May and June. what I received was not a regular payroll check but from some sort of refund account.
At that time I asked if my next check would arrive in the normal manner along with everybody else (for July). I was assured it would.
C. (8/8) When I discovered that i did not get my check with everybody else, I asked what was going on. My supervisor then told me that it takes up to two weeks to issue a check after the contract is approved. That happened on the 28th of June (13 days previously) and she said i would get it a day late (11th).
D. (8/13) My vehicles starter quit. I called in for that evening and told them I could not be at work until i got it fixed and I could not do that until I received my check.
Let me stop here and explain my financial situation. When I started I was basically broke; trying to get back into the job market after being off due to an injury. I had to pawn or sell all i could or take out loans to be able to have the resources to do this job for over a month before getting any settlement. And I informed my boss of this when i tried to explain why it was so important that I get my settlement as agreed. I timed my promises and due dates to correspond with a few days after my expected pay date.
It is now 19 days after my contract was approved. 82 days since I started. Despite repeated requests I still don't have a copy of the contract.
Here are my issues that I would like some advice on:
1. I am considering Small claims court. What Issues must I address?
2. In tort you can sue for actual damages (such as late fees as a result of the acts of the plaintiff) can you sue for punitive or extraordinary damages (usually 3 times actual here in Oklahoma)
3. Even with the delays I would have been able to compensate for it EXCEPT for the fact that the supervisor never informed me that pay would be late. She knew this AT LEAST 2 weeks before payday on this last delay. This is common practice for supervisors (to keep employees informed of important information). IS this considered gross negligence?
4. Also she told me she would a) light a fire under payroll to speed them up and b) call each day to find out status.
I found out from the person that she should have been calling that the supervisor never called her at all! In one case she said she would call the next day and call me to tell me whats was up. She took that day off and refused to answer or return my calls.
Is this practice deceit?
5. Would like to keep my job
6. Since they breached the contract by not paying (and the extreme delay); am I also in breach? because I cannot do my job due to broken vehicle (which I could have had fixed without missing work EXCEPT for this delay)?
7. Also What if any Fee, interest or penalty can be added to this without resorting to the courts?
Finally I would appreciate any advice.