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Previous Employer refusing to pay last checks

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I and my wife came over from India in Nov 1998 as software developer employees of a New Jersey based consulting company. They brought us over here by saying that major IT companies are their clients and that the positions in the clients are ready. The clients were just waiting to meet us - was what they said to us.
Also, we signed and sent a contract to them. The contract was for a period of three years. The contract also promised us a salary increase of $5000 each for every CALENDER year. Even after we reached here, we were not given copies of the contract signed by them. We found that they had no clients or contacts to speak of. We were given a PC and asked to search for jobs ourselves on the Internet.
Finally, another consulting company contacted us about positions open as consultants in a major company. We reported this immediately to our employers and had to work in the client site as third party developers. All this was very frustrating for us. Furthermore, they did not pay us the promised pay hikes in 1999 or 2000. There are many other ways by which they were always pressurising and harassing us.
So, after about 14 months with them, we both switched our jobs with companies in California when we got direct positions with good companies. Now, they have withheld our last paychecks saying that we did not give them enough notice. This, in spite of the fact that, we had talked with the manager of the client project and got our time sheets signed by him.

1 . Is our company legally allowed to not pay us for the hours that we put in?
2 . When the company violated the contract so many times, is it illegal for us to break the contract for a better opportunity?
3 . The company did not sign and give us our copies of the contract. Is it still valid?
4 . Two other persons who were brought to NJ along with us could not be placed with clients by the company. So, after a few months, they were allowed to switch to other companies for direct jobs. Isn't it discrimination if the same is not extended to us?
5 . The company paid us peanuts (@ $7,600 per annum! - below minimum wages?) before they could get us clients (they had assured us in India that our clients were ready, so we don't have to worry about that clause.) I heard that this is illegal. Is it true?
6 . Can we sue them for the last paychecks + promised pay hikes + bench period loss of pay ?
7 . Is it possible for me to place a complaint about this company to the INS so that they do not spoil the careers of any more young candidates?

We will gladly provide any other details that you might need. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


Senior Member
Contact the State Labor Department in New Jersey and complain to them. The company sounds very foolish and short sighted. ANd tell the Indian press to get the word out. Most companies here are dying to get software engineers. I you are from IIT, contact me as I know a great CA based firm looking!

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