CAN AN EMPLOYEE OF AN UNLICENSED CONTRACTOR FILE A CLAIM AGAINST A HOME OWNER IF THEY HAVE NOT BEEN PAID?

1 year ago

I WORK FOR AN UNLICENSED CONTRACTOR. WE RECENTLY COMPLETED A PROJECT $8300.00 TOTAL WHERE THE HOMEOWNER REFUSES TO PAY THE FINAL $2400.00 . I HAVE NOT BEEN PAID DURING THIS PROJECT. CAN I FILE A CLAIM AGAINST THIS HOMEOWNER?

Chief Legal Officer Levelset
22 reviews

This can be fairly complex.

Generally, laborers (employees of contractors) are allowed to file a mechanics lien if they are not paid the wages they are owed for work performed for the project. In addition, laborers in California are exempt from the general preliminary notice requirement with which other parties on the job must comply.

Some complications arise, however, with respect to an employer’s license status, and how that effect lien rights. In many situations the license status of a hiring party doesn’t flow down the hiring chain. This usually means that contractor being unlicensed doesn’t prohibit lien rights for parties they sub-contract with.

Does the same hold true for employees of an unlicensed contractor? That is less clear. Laborers in general are provided strong protection from California regulations. A laborer has the right to file a mechanics lien without giving preliminary notice, and pursuant to relatively new law, has the ability to proceed directly against a GC on the project for payment of wages no matter which tier contractor or subcontractor hired the laborer.

A potential problem can arise related to the status of the employee, however. If the “employee” should actually be classified as an independent contractor, the same licensing rules apply with respect to the ability to file a lien. CA Labor Code § 2750.5, contains two presumptions that a worker is properly classified as an employee rather than an independent contractor, but this may be able to be rebutted.

Guest
Anonymous

I was offered a construction job i immediately made it clear that i wasnt a contractor i was a laborer that i couldnot give a bid but i could give a rough estimate so they can have an idea of the overall cost i explained that i would simply estimate or make an educated guess of how long the job would take based on my experience and multiply that by my hourly rate. More than halfway tru the job after i finished all the difficult tasks the contractor told me to stop working because the owner wasnt paying but to finish the work inside of the house. I imidiately called the owner and asked come to find out he was unlicensed and lied to me in order not to pay me for the hours i had already put in to the job. Can i file for small claims or what is the best way i can get my money.

Guest
Anonymous

I worked for a unlicensed contractor in Alberta  Canada. Working on a motel. It’s been 2 months and I haven’t been paid for work. WHAT CAN I DO?

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