What can I do if my employer is requesting that I send items back? Posted on August 12, 2011

Last December I left a secure job to go to work for another company as an office manager. Two and a half months in, the company went BK. When I came on board, management assured me that the company was on solid financial footing. I came to find out that at the time I was hired, a bank was ready to foreclose on their business over a loan default and at least one executive was aware of the situation. Because my job performance was stellar, and I worked in a division of the company that was profitable, they wanted me to stay on as that portion of the company reorganized under new ownership. However, they still shut my office down. They wound up offering me a position working out of my home as an independent contractor performing telemarketing duties. During this time, my pay checks were late and I feel that they were cheating me out of commissions. Recently, I asked to renegotiate my terms as they asked me to perform duties for free, outside what we agreed upon. They weren't happy about renegotiating and decided we should part ways. As some commissions settle, I figure they will owe me between $600-1000 dollars. However, they do not want to pay me until I ship their office equipment back to them. This is equipment I have been storing in my garage since they shutdown my office back in late Feb. This company is headquartered 300 miles away. We are both in CA. Suffice to say, I do not trust them. I fear they will either not pay me or figure out a way to cheat me. I want a full accounting of my commission and full payment before I ship any equipment back to them. I estimate the equipment to be in the $1500 - $2000 range as it includes a camera security system. How should I go about this? What can I do and what can I not do? Remember, they required that I change to an independent contractor, so I am no loner an employee. Can I file a lien? Am I entitled to storage and packing fees? Is there anything other recourse I can take and did they violate any labor laws.

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