Is it illegal for a teacher to hire a student under the table to do work around their house?My teacher hired me to do work around her house and she said she would pay for my summer camp, and...

Is it illegal for a teacher to hire a student under the table to do work around their house?

My teacher hired me to do work around her house and she said she would pay for my summer camp, and something happened and I couldnt make it to camp, and my teacher was stupid and put the money I earned under a donation for my church, and I cant get the money back. So now I don't have any money, and I was wondering if I could take any legal action.

Asked on by maxiraz

8 Answers | Add Yours

ask996's profile pic

ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

Okay, a couple of things here. One the student never said he was going to a summer church camp, he simply said summer camp. The money ended up going to his church, but he never said his summer camp was a church camp. In addition, does it not disturb anyone that he refers to the deal as "being hired under the table." Since the money was for camp, and he didn't end up going in theory, the teacher had a right to give it to whomever she pleases.

susan3smith's profile pic

susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

It sounds as if you and the teacher had an agreement: she would pay for church camp.  When she sent the money to the church, she fulfilled her part of the bargain.  She gave money to the designated institution in return for the work you did for her.  This was the agreement. 

Of course, if you had the flu, you could not go to the camp.  In order to get your money back, you should go to your church to see if it is refundable.  If it is not, then you are out of luck.  The teacher did nothing wrong in this situation. 

I'm sure this is not the answer you were looking for.  And, you probably feel as if you were really out this summer--catching the flu, not getting to go to church camp, working for no compensation, but things happen like this, and there's not much anyone can do about them.  You have made a valuable donation to the church, and in that way your work was not in vain. 

auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I sure understand your frustration about this, but my colleagues are right--your complaint, if you have one, is with the church.  My sense, though, is that you're not owed anything back.  When we're fundraising for a trip to Europe, students who work and earn but then don't end up going do not get their money returned to them.  The fundraising activity was done by a group for the express purpose of this trip, and if someone drops out--even for good and valid reasons--I go back and re-calculate the money so that those who did work get the full profits.  What I do think is a reasonable position for the church to take, though, is to keep that committed donation (for that's how the church sees it) until next year when camp comes along.  If you go to camp then, they should certainly be willing to give you back, so to speak, the money for that cause.  Sorry, the teacher did her job correctly.  Sometimes these kinds of things just happen and there's nothing to do but just choose to be content.  It's sure not worth ruining your relationship with your teacher or your church, it seems to me.

clyonslf's profile pic

clyonslf | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

You indicate that people told you that  you could get your money back.  I would have to assume these people were associated either with the church or the camp.  Why wouldn't you follow up with them?  You clearly state that, when given the option between camp and money, you chose camp.  So the teacher absolutely held up her end of the bargain - no legal action there.  It's not her fault you came down with the flu.

Try calling the camp or church for a refund of the money.  You may need to be persistant.  Try to document as much of your comunication as possible -e-mails would be best as they provide a clear record.  If you are making phone calls, keep log of dates, names, and content of the conversation.  (Oh, and try not to call people stupid - it doesn't make them want to cooperate with you.)

Good luck.

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The previous posts were really accurate.  I don't see legal action as having much ground here.  This is not saying that you cannot proceed with it, but I think that the teacher did not defraud or cheat you in any way.  An agreement was made, both sides understood it, and both sides went through with it.  Perhaps, involving the church  leader might be in order and explaining the situation to them and seeing if there is any redress that can be pursued.  I think that there might be some level of written contract if this happens again, stipulating what might happen in the event that you cannot attend camp for whatever reason.  Again, I am not sure you have much of ground for legal action.  Consulting with a lawyer might be worthwhile.  Yet, I would stress that I don't think the teacher did anything wrong and met their end of the agreement, and the contribution to the church should be commended.

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The previous post gave you an excellent answer. Teachers often hire their students for odd jobs and such. Many times they do it simply because they want to help out their students; in most cases, they could find more reliable employment from a professional service. It sounds like the teacher's intent was to pay for your summer camp--not to give you pocket money for other purposes. I assume the summer camp was run by your church. When she sent the check to the church to pay for your summer camp, she certainly fulfilled her obligation. As the previous post pointed out, it was you who failed to completely fulfill your part of the deal. You probably should have mentioned to her that there was a possibility you could not attend the camp. Your teacher may or may not have agreed to hire you under this circumstance. As for your teacher being stupid, I would say she was quite magnanimous in offering to help you out; the teacher trusted you when you explained the reason for employment, and you failed to honor your pact. To consider legal action is silly. If you have a good relationship with the teacher, try discussing the matter (again, if you already have), and maybe the two of you can come to some agreement that will make you happier. Perhaps the church/camp administrator will apply it to next year's camp. In this case, I don't believe you'll find much support from the many teachers who answer eNotes questions, since it's pretty obvious that the teacher made a grand gesture in agreeing to support your request.

missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

That is a great question and might be better for the discussion boards. I am not sure if you could call this a legal matter.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Teachers do hire students. I see it everywhere I go. They generally intend to help, that's why they do it. The most common form I see is babysitting. That is an understanding entered into by two parties and a fee is provided for a service.

2. It sounds like this teacher understood that she was paying for your summer camp and a check was to go to your church. This teacher fulfilled their part of the deal. If this scenario is very current, the teacher could put a stop payment on her check to the church and write you a new one. Whatever the "something happened" is that prevented you from going to camp is your problem. Thus, you have to act to make it happen. Your teacher may have created a job for you just so that you could go to this camp. Teachers don't make a whole lot of money. The teacher likely didn't intend to cash out with you if they made the offer to help you with camp.

maxiraz's profile pic

maxiraz | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

the reason why i couldnt go is because i had the flu there was no way i was going to be able to go to camp. and everyone said i was going to get my money back and besides she gave me the choice of money or go to camp i picked camp and got sick and now i worked for nothing. i think i should get paid for the work i did at her house.

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question