Are You Really An Independent Contractor?

Does the company you work with consider you an independent contractor as opposed to an employee? As a result of the costs associated with treating an individual as an employee, companies have a perverse incentive to classify you as an independent contractor. While this may be to the company’s benefit, it is almost always is to the disadvantage of the mislcassified worker. Independent contractor misclassification can cause a misclassified individual significant monetary damage, including the lack of unemployment and workers’ compensation coverage, employer payroll tax contributions, and overtime wages. Luckily, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has one of the most stringent independent contractor laws in the country.

If you work in Massachusetts, in order for you to be properly classified as an independent contractor, the company that you perform services for must establish: 1) that you are free from control in the performance of your services; 2) that the service you provide is different from the service that the company provides; and 3) that you essentially run a business through which you can provide the service in question to any individual or company that wishes to receive your service. If the company that considers you an independent contractor cannot establish ALL three of the above requirements, you are entitled to be treated as an employee.

For a more detailed explanation of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has published a detailed advisory on the subject. It can be found here:

Moral of the story: Just because a company tells you that you’re an independent contractor, it does not mean that you actually are. Be wary of this relationship, and seek legal advice to ensure that you are being properly classified.



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