Independent Contractor Misclassification
Steffans Legal Represents Employees in Independent Contractor Misclassification Cases in Pittsfield, North Adams, Springfield, Worcester, Lowell, Fall River, New Bedford, and Cape Cod
According to Massachusetts law, it’s incredibly difficult for an employer to properly classify someone who performs services on its behalf as an independent contractor. In fact, in Massachusetts, the strong presumption is that if you are performing services for an entity, you are probably an employee, not an independent contractor.
Employers prefer to classify individuals as independent contractors because it allows them to avoid burdensome employment laws, like those requiring payment of minimum wage and overtime, and those prohibiting unlawful harassment, discrimination, or retaliation. The laws that provide these protections only apply to employees. They do not apply to independent contractors.
Over the last 12 years, Steffans Legal has represented Massachusetts employers and employees in claims involving whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee. The most commonly asked questions regarding this issue are answered below. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about who is and is not a real independent contractor and what you can do if you are being misclassified as one.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Independent Contractor Misclassification
Am I really an independent contractor? Probably not. In Massachusetts, it’s very difficult for an employer to properly classify an individual as an independent contractor. In fact, a specific law exists that is designed to force employers to treat most individuals as employees, even if they are labeled as independent contractors.
But I am called an independent contractor. Doesn’t that mean I am one? No. If it were that easy, employers would call all individuals independent contractors. In practice, courts look closely at an individual’s job responsibilities and their day-to-day work experience, not labels, to determine if someone is actually an independent contractor or an employee.
If I am treated like an independent contractor, but am determined to be an employee, what does that mean? A lot of things. First and foremost, it means that you are entitled to retroactive protection of a number of laws that only apply to employees, including the Massachusetts Wage Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. It also means that you are retroactively entitled to whatever benefits your employer did not provide you because you were misclassified as an independent contractor, including unemployment benefits, mileage reimbursement, paid vacations, sick leave, and participation in 401Ks and pension programs.
What next? If you are treated like an independent contractor, you should contact an attorney to determine if that treatment complies with state and federal law. We provide initial consultations at no charge, no matter how long they last. Schedule one today by clicking the "Contact Us" button on this page (the gold one over to your right).