The Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law makes it very difficult for companies to legally hire individuals as contractors and not employees. There is a three part test that most companies can’t meet.
The Three Part Independent Contractor Test
The company must show:
1. The individual is free from direction and control;
2. The service is performed outside the usual course of the company’s business; and
3. The individual is engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.
Even if you signed a contract agreeing to be a contractor, you may still have rights. Companies can’t rely upon these kinds of contracts to avoid violating the law. If the worker should be an employee, it doesn’t matter that the company believes that the worker should be a contractor. It also doesn’t matter that the company has issued a 1099, rather than a W-2. This isn’t relevant, therefore, in deciding whether the company violated the law.
Triple Damages and Attorney’s Fees Under the Independent Contractor Law
Workers who can show that they should have been employees can bring a claim. Under the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law, they can request that the court award “damages.” These damages can include the money and benefits the worker should have had as an employee. This can add up. This is particularly true because judges are required to triple the amount owed if the employee wins at trial and award attorney’s fees. If you are an independent contractor, it is possible that you may have a claim.
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For more information about your rights under the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law, please call Boston employment Attorney Maura Greene, Law Office of Maura Greene, LLC, Six Beacon St., Suite 205 Boston, MA 02108, at 617-936-1580 or email at [email protected]. She was named as a Super Lawyer in Employment in 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 and was named in the Boston Globe in 2012-2015 as one of Boston’s top-rated employment attorneys.