Freeport, NY asked in Employment Law for New York

Q: Are independent contractors entitled to the same four hours of "call-in pay" when a portion of their shift is cancelled?

This applies to fees received for umpiring baseball games. In this instance, umpires were promised payment for two games (which would collectively last no more than four hours). A lightening storm resulted in the second game being cancelled shortly after it was due to begin. The employer states that no fee will be paid for the second game "since the game did not start and you were already on the first game."

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1 Lawyer Answer
V. Jonas Urba
V. Jonas Urba
  • Tarrytown, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: An employment lawyer needs to review whatever contract or contracts govern the services.

Many independent contractors are actually employees. That may not apply to you but the only way a true independent is compensated is:

1) According to the agreed upon terms, usually in writing, since verbal or parole evidence has credibility issues inherent or

2) Quantum meruit or for the reasonable value of similar performed services or the norm within an industry by custom or practice (i.e. supported by case law within whatever jurisdiction the services are performed which may vary widely). If you did not actually perform services it seems that #1 might be the better choice absent caselaw for #2.

Of course government employees and contractors have many other regs and laws for protection from arbitrary or politically motivated mistreatment. Unions protect all with collective agreements but these situations do not appear in your facts.

Retain an employment lawyer, often for a flat rate, to read and advise regarding your contract.

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