'It made me feel like they were taking advantage of me'

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - A Boise photographer gets hired on at Fusion Magazine, but instead of paychecks, she started getting excuses.

"It made me feel undervalued, it made me feel like they were taking advantage of me," Morgan said.

Fusion Magazine contracted Morgan to write a style blog and take pictures. After about two months of work, she was offered a photography director position.

She took the promotion and in total, worked as a Fusion magazine employee for six months. Starting in September, Morgan ran into a problem. Instead of receiving paychecks from her boss, she began getting excuses.

"We don't have it right now, but we will have it for you at the end of the month, and that continued for several months," Morgan said.

When Morgan started to see a pattern, she decided to draft a contract citing the months she worked and the money she was owed. She and the head of Fusion, Brian Shields, signed it. The contract ended up helping Morgan in small claims court when a judge reviewed her case and ruled in her favor.

"Then I found out getting a judgment in favor doesn't mean they are going to pay me," Morgan said.

The case was resolved in March but by the middle of June, Fusion still had not paid Morgan. It was up to her to take the next legal steps, meaning filing more paperwork and subpoena Brian Shields.

KBOI wanted to talk to the head of the magazine so we called him and set up an interview. We asked, why after being served, did he not show up for court?

"No particular reason outside of everything going on at the time," Shields said.

Shields agreed to meet with KBOI immediately and admits he knew he owed Morgan the money.

"I'm not debating that at all. At first we were trying to resolve it, I was paying her what I could at that time," Shields said.

Shields said the start up the magazine is tough and he owes other people money as well. He said he is working to clear the debt and move forward for the good of the company.

"She is just kind sticking up for the rest of the artists around the Valley, I am not knocking her on that at all, and she will definitely receive it," Shields said.

For Morgan, it was no longer about the money. It was the principle. She said she's learned an important lesson during this long, drawn out legal process.

"Make sure that you have a contract in writing, and sometimes in my case, even, it's still a lot of hoops to jump through," Morgan said.

Amanda Morgan was paid in full June 25. Brian Shields contacted me while he was in Scottsdale, Arizona through Facebook to say after our interview with him, he settled with Morgan.

But that doesn't always happen in these small claims cases.
Without payment Morgan would have had to file additional paperwork and subpoena Shields to testify about his assets.

It would have been a lengthy process she would had to pay for out of her own pocket. Morgan says the legal process can be expensive and tedious and she's happy the KBOI Problem Solvers were able to help.