2005_03_ask_gallery.jpgI work at an art gallery and earn less than $300/week. I was in the gallery recently when a photographer who was doing a photoshoot called me over to help him move a piece. He was pushing, I was pulling, I told him to stop - but in his overzealousness he continued to push me into a piece of art. The art broke and it cost $3,000. At first the gallery wanted me to pay for the whole thing and I told them that was impossible. Now the gallery would like me to pay for the $600 deductible for the insurance. Due to the fact that I make so little they have proposed that I work extra hours for no pay in order to cover the cost of the deductible. I feel like I am really getting the short end of the stick since I was pushed into the piece by the photographer and for as little as they pay me I feel that they should factor costs like this into their overhead. I want to do the right thing and I think that my boss is usally a fair person - please help me figure out the ethical thing to do. - Lauren

Ask Gothamist thinks that you should absolutely NOT be held resposible for paying the deductible on the insurance for a broken piece of artwork (we're wondering if they asked the photographer to pay for the piece as well). We think that asking you to work extended hours for no pay is not only unfair, but could possibly be illegal as well (check out the Department of Labor website for more information for your situation).

We know how difficult it can be when you think you are being unfairly treated by an employer, but don't want to lose your job and feel you have few resources. We suggest you try contacting a Labor and Employment lawyer- you may be able to find one in your area who will give you a free consultation or will work on a pro bono or sliding scale basis - or try contacting Legal Aid. We at Ask Gothamist are not lawyers, and we think you really need the opinion of a professional in this case.

Need advice? E-mail ask(at)gothamist.com