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Old 29.10.2007, 11:56
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Non-payment by previous employer

I wonder if anyone can help me...

I worked for a company in Nyon which lasted 2 weeks, after which time they said I would work freelance, needless to say, I never heard from them again. I emailed them to ask if they would pay me, they said they would pay on 10 October, but of course, they still haven't paid me and I've not heard anymore from them. They owe me approx. 2000CHF.

Can anyone give me any idea of what my rights are regarding this? I live in Geneva, am English and have a B permit, but I had no contract with them. I still have the email sent from them about my pay.

Any help would be great, thanks.
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Old 29.10.2007, 12:09
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Re: Non-payment by previous employer

Hi,

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this advice is worth what you paid for it.

Firstly, what does your contract say with regard to payment schedules. When I was contracting, it was normal for payment to be within 30 days of submitting a timesheet / invoice to the client.

If payment is due, then write a letter to your ex-employer, sent by recorded delivery stating what you are owed (don't forget to add the interest) and a time-limit for this sum to be paid to you (e.g. 5 working days from the letter postmark). Inform them that legal action will be forthcoming after this time.

I would also call a lawyer (I can recommend Gabrielle Grether -http://www.gmacg.com/) to get an initial opinion as to your options. In the UK this would be a matter for small claims - I am not sure what the Swiss equivalent is.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 29.10.2007, 14:09
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Re: Non-payment by previous employer

If as suggested by the previous writer to get a lawyer and this will cost you, then I suggest that you not do so. As you have proof that you are owed this money all, send them a registered letter stating that you will take out a betriebung arder against the company. After which you go to the Rathaus and file a betriebung. I believe this costs sfr 50. Once they have been served with a betriebung they will have 10 days to respond. This is a very simple process to follow. It is similiar to small claims .
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Old 29.10.2007, 14:09
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Re: Non-payment by previous employer

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If payment is due, then write a letter to your ex-employer, sent by recorded delivery stating what you are owed (don't forget to add the interest) and a time-limit for this sum to be paid to you (e.g. 5 working days from the letter postmark). Inform them that legal action will be forthcoming after this time.
I'd say this is sound advice, though I'm not a legal expert either:

I found this on the site of my canton (Baselland):
Quote:
Was geschieht mit dem Lohn, der Ihnen für bereits geleistete Arbeit zusteht?
Sie müssen diesen Lohn von der Arbeitgeberschaft mit eingeschriebenem Brief einfordern. Listen
Sie sämtliche Forderungen auf und setzen Sie eine Frist. Erfolgt keine Reaktion innert dieser Frist,
können Sie Ihre Forderung mit einer Lohnklage beim Arbeitsgericht bestätigen lassen. Falls die
Arbeitgeberseite Ihren Lohnforderungen auch danach nicht nachkommt, können Sie die Betreibung
einleiten. Das Urteil als rechtsgültiger Titel hilft Ihnen, die Fortsetzung der Betreibung ohne weitere
richterliche Beurteilung zu erlangen (schnelle Beseitigung eines allfälligen Rechtsvorschlages).
Die Unterschrift der Arbeitgeberschaft (mit Datum!) auf der Liste der zusammengestellten Lohnforderungen
gilt als Schuldanerkennung und erleichtert den Betreibungsweg.
Merkblatt

I'm sure the canton you live/worked in has a similar site (the agency is called KIGA in Baselland).
in short it says that you first should write them by registered mail. If they don't react in the time frame you gave them, you can sue them at the labour court (Arbeitsgericht, don't know the french term). If they still don't pay you can prosecute them for the amount they owe you.
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Old 29.10.2007, 18:14
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Re: Non-payment by previous employer

I'm also not a lawyer, but the following may help.

Send two letters, a few days apart, via registered mail, although as I understand it, one is sufficient.

Also make sure they paid your AHV contributions. They are in deep Doo-Doo if this hasn't been done and it can not be paid in retrospect.

Go here: http://www.ahv.ch/

Click on the icon "Bestellung Kontoauszug". Follow the instructions on the form you fill; select box 'B' and the first choice "001000 Ausgleichskasse des Kantons X" (where 'X' is your Canton).

If it turns out they have not paid your Insurance contributions they'll have more than just you to keep them awake at night...

Good Luck and tell us how it proceeds.
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Old 29.10.2007, 18:23
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Re: Non-payment by previous employer

The important points have been covered, the question really is did you have a contract of employment and what kind of work were you doing that you never see them?

If this is all legitimate then you can take them free of charge to any employment court you want although one in their canton is quicker. These things are dealt with very quickly and seeing as it appears a reasonable time has elapsed and you have asked once you need not send any further communication. Checking AHV is always good but they only have an obligation to pay at the end of each quarter in arrears so you might not appear there yet.

If that fails you can open a personal claim against them but if they are ignoring an employment court they are probably potless...
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Old 31.10.2007, 09:49
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Re: Non-payment by previous employer

Hi,

Quote:
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If as suggested by the previous writer to get a lawyer and this will cost you, then I suggest that you not do so.
The English-speaking lawyer we use in Basel will quite often give you an initial opinion over the phone, and not charge for it. And at least this would point the OP in the right direction.

She normally only charges when she does some substantive work for us - e.g. handling our company tax return, dealing with the Ausgleichskasse etc etc.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 31.10.2007, 14:09
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Re: Non-payment by previous employer

Thanks for your advice everyone.

I was originally working in the office for two weeks, full time, but after that they said I should work freelance. They told me to let them know when I would next be back in the office (I had not been working from home), but when I did that, they said they would call when they needed me, of course, I never heard from them again. I have no contract with them.
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