At Malonis Law Office, we have experienced employment law attorneys who have served individuals in a wide capacity, helping to file claims for compensation and other financial needs based on federal and state laws. In Massachusetts, there are state laws that govern the classification of employees. Misclassification takes place in the state and our attorneys can help employees seek compensation when they have not been paid due to the classification they were given, that did not apply to their situation.
Federal and state law govern employee wage payments, including minimum wage and overtime, employer record keeping, and the classification of workers as employees or if they are considered an independent contractor. Based on the Payment of Wages Act, employers must pay wages in a prompt manner. The term wages is used to describe hourly pay, commissions earned, vacation time, holiday pay and other time earned.
From time to time, employers will violate the Wage Act and not pay an individual their vacation time, holiday pay, overtime or other wages due to misclassification. There is a constant debate in the state by employers with the classification of an employee or independent contractor. Based on state law, an employee is presumed to be an employee and not an independent contractor. It is the obligation of the employer to prove that the individual is, in fact, an independent contractor.
Classification is needed to avoid legal issues as well as a tax liability. When an improper classification occurs, it is considered a Wager Act violation as well as a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. If an employer violates such laws, they can face damages, attorneys’ fees and the cost of litigation. Wage-related disputes are often taken to court, with the employer and employee butting heads as to who is at fault.
When misclassification occurs, the employee is hurt because they are denied protections that are provided to employees. This can include workers compensation, vacation benefits, holiday benefits, company benefits, plus protection against wage violations and discrimination.
When an employer classifies an individual as an independent contractor, they are provided a windfall of sorts as they are able to avoid taxes. This avoidance creates a financial burden on a federal level as well as lost taxes and insurance revenues for the state. Such employers will have an unfair competitive advantage over employers who do correctly classify their employees and bear the financial strain of overtime pay, vacation time and other financial costs like Medicare contributions, paying workers’ compensation premiums, etc.
If an employer is unsure of how to classify an individual, we can help. Our Massachusetts employment law attorneys can help with classification so that employers can avoid costly litigation and penalties in the future due to misclassification.
For employees, if you feel that you have been misclassified, then you should consult with our office to determine if you have been paid properly and have the benefits you rightly deserve. Give us a call today to learn more about our service options or to schedule a consultation to discuss your individual case.