Do Online Employees Have Protection Against Deceitful Employers/Clients?

May 22, 2010 10:09am CST
My brother is a software engineer. After working for several IT companies, he decided to work online to rest from waking up early in the morning and coming home in the evening. Fortunately, he got clients online mostly from US and Canada. Technically, they are his employers as they pay him monthly for whatever project they ask him to do. His online IT career was doing great, until pretty recently. He gets paid at the end of the month, as according to the employers, it will be too costly for them to send payment twice monthly. That was okay. But the problem about this set-up is that, employers can just run away without paying the employee after the whole project is done. This happened to my brother twice. The recent one is the worst and he pisses me off until now. Employers can be very demanding - of course who has the gold rules (although am not generalizing people here). But you see, they can demand and ask for everything they want and just get away with the project without even paying the person who made it. Worst, employees do not know their clients and they don't give their personal info, of course. It will be different for the employees as they submit resumes (sigh). Am wondrin if there is any online protection, support group or online policing to also protect the workers. Working online should be beneficial for both employees and employers.
4 responses
@Eppie2010 (509)
• Philippines
22 May 10
I'm guessing that your brother is a freelancer? If he doesn't have tax deductions, healthcare benefits, yearly &/or quarterly bonuses, then most likely, he is a freelancer. Most freelancers (not all) who works directly or reports directly to an employer are working with a high-risk of not getting paid. My friend is also a software engineer and he had many bad experiences working direct that's why he opted to source freelance jobs from and because employers there are screened. Me, I also get freelance work at and got no problems with getting paid. ^_^
• Philippines
22 May 10
Thanks Eppie =). Yeah I heard is great. He passed the tests when he took one last year. I think the only challenge in odesk is that he doesn't win on bids.
• Philippines
24 May 10
Yeah, that's the downside of odesk, most employers (buyers) choose bids that are way below and if your "talent fee" is relatively high, you're most likely not getting the job/project. :(
• Philippines
2 Jun 10
Sad to say but freelancers are really on high risk on being abandoned by their employers. IS your brother working freelance directly or through jobsites like elance and odesk? If your brother is working freelace directly (employee-employer), all he could hold on to is trust in what his employer says. Working on jobsites like odesk and elance are somehow more likely not so exposed to scammy employers.If your brother is working and being paid hourly thru these sites, there is no way an employer can escape from his payment responsibilities. But is your brother is working on fixed priced projects, it is but advisable to get upfront advance payments. This kind of sites also has a reputation ranking system.Employers can rate and comment their employees and vice versa. I guess the very wise thing to do when one works in freelance is to check the employers payment backgrounds. The second one is to get advance payments.
• Philippines
12 Jun 10
Hi Joie, thank you so much for the response. I have been away for quite some time thus the late response. My brother is working with fixed monthly income and yeah, there is no way for him to get hold of his employers should they decide to vanish with paying. I guess online jobs are only good for sidelines and not as the major source of income =).
• United States
26 May 10
While freelancers - or known as contract workers in the U.S. - may not get insurance benefits, etc., they are still required to be paid for services rendered. The main important thing is to have a signed contract with all payment details outlined. If payment is not received, your brother could then file suit in civil court to retrieve his losses. Unfortunately, this is a very time-consuming process and may or may not be worth it depending on the amounts.
• Australia
28 May 10
you know the fact is risk is always there to get set go for the success and scam is internet risk that nothing to say about decide everything than lauch your journey,
@wahsher (175)
• India
22 May 10
Tell your brother to do work from freelance sites available on internet. In those sites he will get more clients and secured payments. Payment is secured on those site because they use Escrow payment where the milestone of payment is set first and then only employees work on the project. It is a safer way to get paid. There are hourly payments also. Your brother might already knew that, but you can suggest him.
• Philippines
22 May 10
Thanks wahsher. I might ask him about this one. Bless you.