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Thread: ROOM AND BOARD in exchange for work

  1. #1
    rwn
    rwn is offline Junior Member
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    ROOM AND BOARD in exchange for work

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

    I have a few questions concerning room and board in exchange for work.

    I have recently moved to Los Angeles and in exchange for working for a music promotions company, I receive free room and board. My boss has told me that I am required to work 9AM-PM (13 hrs) or he will kick me out.

    I do not have a written contract with him on this as he believes that a handshake is all you need and his word is his honor. In another words, I have a partial oral contract and signed paper saying that I will help him by placing a car in my name, open a checking account for him, and place his storage units in his name. I also have a non compete-non disclosure agreement as well.

    He has also not paid another employee because he was considered an independent contractor and he was subjected to the same 12 hour day work rule. Also he has been bringing some girls from France in here to work and expects then to work 40 hours a week and they do not have a work visa.

    After doing this, he told me that he owes over 70,000 in back taxes, he is being sued for $60,000 and he has a judgement against him for $500,000 from an accident. I have also found out he has been forging my signature with the debit card, and one of the storage units.

    My biggest questions are
    Can he fire me and throw me out on the street if I do not meet his demands?
    Can the non compete contract hold up in court if I leave despite not being paid?
  2. #2
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    This sounds like a really bad arrangement all around and your "boss" sounds like a scumbag. He could potentially be ruining your credit. I would get out of there ASAP.

    Yes you can be fired for almost any reason. Your recourse would be to file for unemployment. But I bet you're being paid under the table and the wages aren't being reported. Is he even taking taxes out of your pay?

    P.S. This guy doesn't have anything in writing with you because "his word is his honor" or any such hogwash. He has nothing in writing so that if you sue him you can't prove much. Of course even if you win I doubt he has many assets to collect.
  3. #3
    Stevef is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by rwn View Post
    Can the non compete contract hold up in court if I leave despite not being paid?
    My understanding is that non-competes are void in California for employees and independant contractors, and therefore non-enforceable.

    Find another job and a place to live. It may be considered an illegal eviction if he simply locks you out of your home, but it doesn't sound like this clown would care about that. An illegal eviction leaves you just as homeless as a legal eviction.
  4. #4
    commentator is offline Senior Member
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    There is a term for exchanging room and board for work performed, without running the operation through any sort of public system. It is called "slavery" and I'd bet my last dollar he's not doing anything as far as reporting you that will qualify you for anything except jail. There will be no 1099 at the end of the year. He is using up your virgin social security number and credit and then eventually you will be kicked to the curb with nothing but a badly compromised identity. RUN. RUN. RUN.

    What makes you think, with all these other people suing him and him in all this other trouble, that he'd take the time and trouble to evict you legally, or that you could sue him and get back anything you've given him or he owes you? What makes you think that he's going to do anything legally and aboveboard when he has even told you of his on-going scams and schemes?

    No you cannot draw unemployment benefits if this guy "fires" you because you have not been paid any wages, no payroll taxable wages are being reported in to the state for you, and you can bet your life he's not paying in any taxes to the unemployment system for you. He's certainly not paying anything or reporting anything to the IRS, why would he drop down to the state level? He did not get into this situation he describes quickly and easily. He is no innocent victim, and he is no "job creator." He is lying to you if his lips are moving. The non compete clause is another bunch of his hooey! I bet he is telling those French girls he'll report them to immigration if they try to leave. What are they doing 40 hours a week? I shudder to think. But even if they're filing papers or ironing handkerchiefs, the way he's working them is in total violation of the country's employment laws. RUN AWAY. Can I be any clearer?
    Last edited by commentator; 07-12-2012 at 10:29 AM.
    eerelations likes this.
  5. #5
    anearthw is offline Member
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    I also shudder to think at what these illegal French girls are doing at 40 hours a week in the 'business' in LA???

    You've gotten involved with a scammer (at best) and at worst, a seriously questionable character.

    He's forging your signature and you've agreed to put a car in your name, and he owes $600+k to other people already including the government???

    And you haven't grabbed your clothes and ran yet?
  6. #6
    eerelations is offline Senior Member
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    I think OP is either a troll or an undocumented immigrant.
  7. #7
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by eerelations View Post
    I think OP is either a troll or an undocumented immigrant.
    Troll maybe, but an undocumented immigrant would NOT have the credit that this OP's boss is using. I have seen stranger things than this though.
  8. #8
    eerelations is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    ...an undocumented immigrant would NOT have the credit that this OP's boss is using.
    Why not? Not all undocumented immigrants in the US are poor Mexicans, there are lots and lots of undocumented Canadians and Brits with good credit who are living and working illegally in the US. (Trust me on this, I know some of them. )
  9. #9
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by eerelations View Post
    Why not? Not all undocumented immigrants in the US are poor Mexicans, there are lots and lots of undocumented Canadians and Brits with good credit who are living and working illegally in the US. (Trust me on this, I know some of them. )
    But they would not be able to open bank accounts easily, get a car registered easily etc. They could in the long term (after getting an ITIN number) but its not something they could do in the short term...so still, its not very likely this is an undocumented immigrant.
  10. #10
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    But they would not be able to open bank accounts easily, get a car registered easily etc.
    You don't know much about CA, do you?
  11. #11
    eerelations is offline Senior Member
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    OP doesn't have to open a bank account in the US. If he has a bank account in another country, he can pay his credit card bills online through that account. And that's perfectly legal. (I have a bank account in Canada, and a VISA card tied to that account. When I travel to the US I can use my Canadian VISA card anywhere in the US, and pay the tab from my Canadian bank account. Heck, I did just that on my last trip to NYC! There's nothing illegal about this, nor is it even very difficult.)

    Regarding registering a car, OP said the car is registered in his evil boss' name. All OP did was pay for the car, probably with his foreign credit card.
  12. #12
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by eerelations View Post
    OP doesn't have to open a bank account in the US. If he has a bank account in another country, he can pay his credit card bills online through that account. And that's perfectly legal. (I have a bank account in Canada, and a VISA card tied to that account. When I travel to the US I can use my Canadian VISA card anywhere in the US, and pay the tab from my Canadian bank account. Heck, I did just that on my last trip to NYC! There's nothing illegal about this, nor is it even very difficult.)

    Regarding registering a car, OP said the car is registered in his evil boss' name. All OP did was pay for the car, probably with his foreign credit card.
    I interpreted the OP differently than you did. I thought that the OP was buying/registering/insuring his boss's car in OP's name, opening a bank account for his boss in OP's name, perhaps extending other forms of credit in OP's name, for his boss, etc. That is why I said that an undocumented immigrant would be unlikely to have the necessary credit to facilitate those kinds of things for his boss.

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