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Independent Contractor Misclassification


Businesses and employers in Massachusetts will frequently classify employees as “independent contractors,” rather than formal employees. Technically, this is called independent contractor misclassification. Although many people may not realize it, there are strict rules about when an employer may treat someone as an independent contractor. In fact, in most cases, it is illegal.


Why is it illegal to misclassify an employee as an independent contractor? Because it deprives the potential employee of many protections that they should have, such as unemployment, workers compensation, and employer-provided health care. To have a robust work force where people can work hard for fair wages, it is important for employees to have these basic protections.


Massachusetts has a three-part test for whether someone may be classified as an independent contractor. All three parts must be satisfied before an employee can be classified as an independent contractor.


First, the employee must be free from the employer’s direction and control. That is, the employer cannot tell the person how to do their job.


Second, the type of job must be different than the type of business that the employer is in. For example, if a doctor hires someone to paint their office, the person can probably be classified as an independent contractor. But if the doctor hires someone to check patients’ blood pressure, the person probably needs to be classified as an employee.


Third and finally, the type of job must be an independent trade, occupation, profession, or business. If the person can go out on their own and solicit other business, he or she can probably be classified as an independent contractor. But if he .


If you work in Massachusetts, and you are paid as an independent contractor but you are treated like an employee, you may have the right to seek damages for the lost benefits that your employer as deprived you of.  If you feel your rights have been violated, CONTACT US for a free consultation.