Misclassified Independent Contractors | Massachusetts Wage Claims
If you work overtime, you deserve to be paid for it. To cut their labor costs, some employers in Massachusetts misclassify their employees as independent contractors. If you were misclassified as an independent contractor and not paid overtime that you were owed, you can file a claim against your employer for treble (triple) damages and attorneys’ fees under the Massachusetts Independent Contractor statute found at M.G.L. c. 149, §148B.
Michael Harriman is an unpaid overtime attorney in Boston who takes great pride in helping wrongfully classified independent contractors throughout Massachusetts recover amounts owed and enforce their rights. Attorney Harriman will evaluate your case for free to determine if you have grounds for a misclassification claim. Call Harriman Law at 617-482-1723 today to schedule a free consultation.
Massachusetts’ “Three Prong Test” to Determine Worker Classification
Your employer has the burden of proving that you were correctly classified as an independent contractor. M.G.L. c. 149, s. 148B outlines a test that consists of three elements (the “Three Prong Test”) to determine whether you should be classified as anything other than an employee. Those elements are:
- The individual is free from control and direction in connection with the performance of the service, both under his contract for the performance of service and in fact; and
- The service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer; and
- The individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.
If any one of these three factors is false, you must be classified as an employee. The second prong means that a worker who does usual and normal work for the employer cannot be classified as an independent contractor. For instance, a landscaping company cannot call its landscapers independent contractors, but it can hire an accountant to do its tax returns as an independent contractor.
In this example, the landscaping business would not have control over how the accountant does the job, even though the final work product would be subject to the business’ approval. It is also likely that the accountant would prepare tax returns for many other clients, thus making the accountant’s service an “independently established” profession or business of the same nature.
Employers in Massachusetts are required to pay employees time and a half, or 1.5 times the normal hourly rate, for overtime hours worked, unless the employee is exempt from overtime. Examples of employees who may be exempt from overtime include seasonal workers, professionals, and executives. Of course if you are misclassified as an independent contractor your employer is also not likely paying you overtime that you are entitled to!
If you feel that you have been misclassified as an independent contractor and that your employer failed to pay you time and a half for overtime hours worked, you may be entitled to compensation including treble (triple) damages for any lost wages and benefits. Your claim can include vacation pay, holiday pay, and other benefits you would have been entitled to if you had been classified as an employee.
Discuss Your Case with a Boston Unpaid Overtime Lawyer and Massachusetts Employment Misclassification Lawyer Today!