Freelance Jobs for Minors = Illegal?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Shutterbug, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. Shutterbug

    Shutterbug TPF Noob!

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    Here's an interesting tidbit -

    As many of you know, I'm a rare case of an under 18 professional photographer. I started a few years ago, and now I've made a fairly decent name for myself, not to mention a very strong book for someone my age.

    Well, on Thursday I got stopped by the woman that works in my High School Career Center, and was yoinked into her office.

    I got seriously chewed out, mainly because I'm working without a work permit, something that exists to add another element of control over fairly self-sustaining teenagers. The problem is that since I'm freelancing, I can't GET a work permit - They are only good for salary jobs.

    When I told her that my grades are fine (3.7 GPA), and I pointed out that my photography was obviously not getting in the way of my schoolwork... That I was just doing it now to make money for college and to get a resume going before I go to college, I got yelled at for talking back, and that freelance jobs aren't available to people my age due to "legal constraints". I mentioned that by that logic, a kid couldn't mow someones lawn for 5 bucks, because that is work without a permit, too.

    Well, the lecture I got from her after that was pretty much "the work permit exists so you won't get injured or cheated out of your money" (Which is a crappy argument given I make about 35 dollars an hour on a job, three times as much as the normal high schooler, and that I've never been injured...)

    Simply put, they want to stop my career from progressing until I'm 18. I've been told that I'll get an In-House suspension every time I'm caught working without a permit again and that any one who employs me will be subject to legal action.

    So, I'm not totally sure what to do in this situation. I could keep working, and take it to the school board/county courts, or I could just put my photo career on pause and work on the fine art stuff I do for fun.

    Meh... Any thoughts?
     
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  2. PreludeX

    PreludeX TPF Noob!

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    keep working and research!!!!! goto public records and what not and look up laws.. if you dont see it in the law books.. sue.... 35 an hour? not bad.. how many hours.... my last two jobs were about 1900 dollars a day plus expenses which takes care of college and equipment
     
  3. Jess

    Jess TPF Noob!

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    Check your local law books.

    In Califonria one only needs a work permit if they are under 15. Legal working age is 16, no permit required.

    Also, check to see if the school is even within their legal rights to suspend you for actions taken not on their property. For instance, can they suspend you if you steal a car, or rob a liquor store? Why would they be able to do so based on where you work? (If they can't ... :evil: file a complaint with the school that the councelor is harassing and theatening you.)

    Stop discussing your contracts at school, make sure your friends and family do not discuss it at school or with anyone who might pass the information to that councelor. - This is the simplest solution.

    I myself am a witch and I would see how I could make life hell for that councelor for screwing around with me, lol.
     
  4. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Shutter, what does you working have to do with school anywase? You should go to the police department and ask them. You may have to go to a lawyer. And if you find out the school is overstepping thier grounds, you should talk to the newspapers. Who knows, they may want to interview you, and you would get free publicity and the school a black eye. :0)
     
  5. Time to Get Moving

    Time to Get Moving TPF Noob!

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    How did they find out?

    and:
    I thought it was till 17 and a half? Where I'm from thats what it is. (I live near LA.)
     
  6. Shutterbug

    Shutterbug TPF Noob!

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    One of my clients lost my contact information and dropped off my payment at school, and unfortunatly got interrogated by some official. I'm not sure how they found out the other jobs though :\

    And yeah, I live in California. I think it's 17 and a half. I still have 5 months to go before then :\
     
  7. spike000

    spike000 TPF Noob!

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    Don't tell anyone - work cash in hand and give out very few details about yourself. It's worked for me in harder places than the US!!!!

    Tell the school where to go - none of their business if it is all off their property and out of their time.

    Oh - and smile a lot at everyone and look confused if they say that you might be doing anything illegal.

    Good luck

    Spike
     
  8. Jess

    Jess TPF Noob!

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    Yes, I think your right actually sorry. I was thinking of a different restriction... lol, you aren't allowed to use a knife at your place of work under 15. I remember now that I needed a permit to get my job at 16 or 17 tho.

    Anyway, child actors do it, there must be a legal way for any other kid to. Fight em w/ the law.
     
  9. Rogue Monk

    Rogue Monk TPF Noob!

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    Your main thing should be to find out if its within there right to suspend you for working. So long as you're making your grades and not dropping your studies, I can't see how they could. And if they do, you file a grievence with the school board or take it to the media (nobody likes bad press, but I'd use this as last resort...no need to make anyone angrier than they are).

    Next file for a work permit. It shouldn't matter that you're freelance. Go in and talk to someone face to face. Be pleasant and layer on the charm. If you do, you'll find they'll flex the application form to make it work.

    Once you've applied (don't wait till you have the actual permit in hand...you should have a copy of the permit application at least), go show it to the councillor. If they're still being ornery, take it to a higher power (show the art/photo teacher what you've done. get them on your side too). Agian, don't assign blame. Just explain the facts and what you are doing to solve the issues. Explain that you can't give up your current contracts (make it up if you have to...something about 25% deposits being paid in advance...not that I'm telling you to lie or anything...). Ask them to be lenient while the paperwork processes.

    And then do what lawyers do. Tie it up in paperwork. If you get turned down, you immediatly apply again. Differ for as long as you can. You should be able to get 6 months or so from that.

    If you avoid the problem, it'll get worse. But if you take it head on and do everything you can, someone will help you out.
     
  10. Time to Get Moving

    Time to Get Moving TPF Noob!

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    the problem is, with getting a permit, you have to have a stationary job, and he's working for other people, so on his permit it is supposed to only cover one job.
     
  11. Rogue Monk

    Rogue Monk TPF Noob!

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    That isn't a problem...only a hurdle. If he talks with someone and explains his story, they should at least be able to recommend what steps he can take.

    Don't let them brush you off. You need to ask "Considering that I can't/won't quit working, what other options can I persue? What have people done in the past when confronted with this situation? What has worked/failed for them? Can I use that to my advantage? What do you recommend at this time?"

    If they say to quit when asked that last question, talk to someone else. Keep talking--they can't ignore you forever.

    I don't want to push the "One voice can make a difference" ideology, but sometimes you have to say the same thing twenty times before people start taking you seriously...and the sad fast is that unless you stay with it, they will ignore you due to your "minor" status.

    If you never walk away from the conversation without having another piece of the puzzle that gets you what you need, you'll always know your next course of action.

    It might not be easy, but it will be necessary (unless you want to put your livelihood on hold for six or more months).
     
  12. Kodan_Txips

    Kodan_Txips TPF Noob!

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    One thing that springs to mind, especially from the comment about child actors, is the involvement of your parents in all this. Maybe it is possible to get some sort of legal form drawn up that states something along the lines of "My child is not a brainless jerk, he is a career professional earning more than any school counsellor would ever dream of, and he has my full support"

    Joking aside, you often need parental or guardian permission to... get married, join the forces etc at a young age, so maybe such permission would help get you a freelance work permit. And if parents don't co-operate, offer them a bottle of Jack Daniels for every 1000 dollars worth of work.
     

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