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I was working for a Indian IT company that hires people from Mexico and sends them to work within other companies in USA. This company has been stealing money from me each month with taxes, and I'm ok with that, because its a small amount.

Now they won't pay me for the last month I worked there. And they want me to fill a W2 form where I say I got paid. This is a Michigan based IT company, but I worked in Florida.

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    The taxes are not (necessarily) stealing from you: rather every employer in the US is legally required to withhold "reasonable" tax amounts, based on your income (if they pay you more than $600 in a year). Also, are you sure they want YOU to fill out a W2(unless you work in accounting/HR)? The company has to file a W2 to the IRS for you (and generally they give you a copy or summery). The not paying you the last month's paycheck sounds actionable though; was that paycheck less than or greater than $5000? – sharur Jan 30 '18 at 19:44
  • my contract states that I make 7500 a year. which is 6250 monthly, minus taxes.. i got paid 4000-4200 monthly, this was in florida, where you dont pay federal taxes. Thank you for your words.. i know a little bit more now. – LearningCharlito Jan 30 '18 at 19:52
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    I am assuming you mean 75,000 a year. Thank you, so small claims is out. You are incorrect about not paying federal taxes in Florida. You pay Federal taxes everywhere in the US, including income taxes. Florida does not have income taxes, so you only pay Federal income taxes there, as opposed to, for example, California, where you pay both Federal and State income taxes. – sharur Jan 30 '18 at 20:59
  • sorry, You're right. I know i only pay one of those. but, according to smartasset.com i should be getting 4792. and i been getting paid 4100. Do you think the webpage is wrong? – LearningCharlito Jan 30 '18 at 21:09
  • About the W2, again its really weird to even be asked to fill that out. Are you sure they didn't ask you to fill out a W4(a related but different form). I cannot comment on the validate of the website, but it was off by a couple hundred bucks for me (I have my W2 and tax return in hand). – sharur Jan 30 '18 at 21:21
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Since the company hires people in Mexico, it should be possible to sue them in Mexico. If they ask you to fill out a W2 form and to put information in that form which isn't true, they are asking you to commit fraud. If you have it documented in any way, you can forward this information to a district attorney for a possible criminal investigation.

I just saw your comment and you said that you made less than the federal minimal wage in the US. Paying less than the minimal wage is also illegal. US Department of Labor has a website with resources for filing complaints about that.

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  • Thank you, but I signed my contract in USA, and it's valid only in USA, Also Im in mexico, thats why its so hard to get a lawyer to commit to the case.. because its not a lot of money in the line. :( – LearningCharlito Jan 30 '18 at 19:59
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    Even if you signed the contract in the US, as long as the initial point of contact was in Mexico and you have some proof of that initial contact (even a phone call record on a phone bill), then it's an arrangement which started in Mexico and should be available to be processed by the Mexican court system. – grovkin Jan 30 '18 at 20:02
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    @grovkin: LearningCharilo has an error in his numbers; either he dropped a zero in his total amount or his monthly number is wrong, as 7500/12 is not 6250 a month. – sharur Jan 30 '18 at 21:04
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    This is not as sure of a statement as @grovkin puts forth (on where and if a suit can be filed in a given jurisdiction based on contracting). That said, most contracts now include express clauses indicating what jurisdiction and what law will govern in the event of any dispute between the parties. If the contract includes such a clause, the rest of the conversation is irrelevant. – A.fm. Jan 30 '18 at 21:07
  • @A.fm just because a contract was executed in the US does not mean that the arrangement to enter into the said contract is a subject to said contract. For example, in the US there are certainly rights which cannot be given up even with a contract. Since the workers was solicited to come to the US while he was still in Mexico, there could be Mexican laws preventing him from surrendering certain rights with a contract executed in the US. Coercive contracts in situations which "smell" like human trafficking can sometimes be set aside even in the US. – grovkin Jan 30 '18 at 22:11
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Firstly, there are no geographic restrictions on the plaintiff in a US lawsuit, baring forum non conveniens doctrine, which considering you were working in a US jurisdiction and the company was doing business there, should not be an issue.

(EDIT: As user A.Fm. points out, the real first thing to do is check your contract for a clause determining jurisdiction and/or arbitration. If you do, it will determine if and where you can sue them.)

The first thing I would do is to hire a lawyer, preferably one specializing in employment law, and bring/send a copy of your contract. The first step to suing someone is filing a complaint. This is something you will want to have a lawyer do. (Pro tip: Even lawyers generally don't represent themselves in court). However, this is probably not the first step your lawyer will take. They will probably send your former employer a demand letter. It's faster and cheaper for you if they settle than going through a whole lawsuit.

As for your complaints:

  1. The tax withholding seems reasonable, albeit a little high. You can request your W2 from your former employer, preferably before your lawyer contacts them. If they don't respond, have your lawyer ask them. As a last resort, you can have the IRS send you your W2 for a small fee. If what was withheld from your paycheck matches your W2, you're fine. Otherwise, yes, it appears that they are stealing from you. Talk to your lawyer.

Note that if they are on the up-and-up, they can still over-withhold (the majority of employers do, which is why you hear people talking about their (relatively) big tax return, and what they are going to spend it on); this is not a major problem, just file a tax return (which you are required to do anyway), and your excess withholding is returned to you by the IRS.

  1. The withholding of your final paycheck seems actionable. This is what you should talk to your lawyer about.

  2. This is weird, especially after your employment has ended. Most people get a summary of their W2; they don't fill it out. Are you by any chance confusing the W2 with the W4 (which they should have had you fill that out at the beginning of your work for them...maybe that's why your withholding is so high)? The W2 is their responsibility not yours, although it can cause tax headaches for you (and major legal repercussions for them).

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Supplement others' answers:

Prior to filing a complaint in a court of the U.S., it is in your best interest to ascertain whether or not you are required to exhaust administrative remedies.

You mention that they are a Michigan based company. I don't know about Florida law, but in Michigan, the Payment of Wage and Fringe Benefits Act (WFBA) in its statute MCL 408.481 requires the employee to file a written complaint with the Michigan department of labor (not sure what the agency's current name is) within 12 months after the alleged violation. This applies regardless of whether you intend to sue in Michigan state court or in a (federal) district court located in Michigan.

I gather that you no longer work there, whence it seems to me that your employer is violating MCL 408.474, MCL 408.475, MCL 408.485, and possibly other statutes of the Act. Thus, it is extremely important that you duly pursue this administrative remedy prior to filing suit in court. I've seen attorneys lose their client's case in Michigan because the attorney failed to go through that process, and instead went straight to file a complaint in the court.

Note: I became fairly acquainted with the WFBA statutes because I sued (in pro per) my former employer: also an Indian's IT company based in Michigan. I litigated in state court, and the matter is currently pending review in the U.S. Supreme Court. I was not required to exhaust administrative remedies, whereas the details of your situation suggest that your case strictly falls within the scope of the WFBA. Best wishes.

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  • If the work was performed in Florida then I would expect Florida employment law to apply, not Michigan law. – phoog Jun 8 '18 at 17:48

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