Independent Contractor Law: Case Studies
Many people are classified as independent contractors who really should be treated as employees under the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law. This can be true across a wide variety of professions, and even in industries where it is common practice to employee freelancers or independent contractors.
Below are a few of the many examples of people we have helped enforce their lawful status under the Independent Contractor Law. The names and images are fictitious, but the stories are real.
Every person's story is a little different, but there are lessons to be learned from people who have gone through similar situations.
Physician Classification Under Independent Contractor Law
Alex was a psychiatrist providing services to a mental health treatment center in Massachusetts. Though she was expected to exercise her independent clinical judgment, she was closely supervised and required to follow detailed protocols and procedures by the institution.
In addition, the work she did was indistinguishable from the work that other, employed, physicians did, and her services were clearly part of the core business of the employer, which was to provide mental health care. Read more here.
Delivery Driver Classification Under Independent Contractor Law
Ron was a delivery truck driver working for an appliance company in Massachusetts. He and other drivers were classified and paid as independent contractors, not employees.
The company required Ron and others in his position to create their own LLC's, to further the appearance that this was a contractor relationship, not an employment relationship. In reality, however, he worked full time for this company, and had no other customers or clients he provided these services to through his LLC. He was also subject to significant control and direction by the company. Read more here.
Independent Contractor and Unemployment Denial
Christina was an attorney who worked for a law firm. She was considered a junior partner, and paid as an independent contractor. She did not, however, enjoy many of the benefits of a true partnership, such as profit sharing, participation in decision making, among other things.
When Christina was laid off, she attempted to collect unemployment, but was denied because she was not considered an employee by the law firm. Read more here.
Set Builders Under Independent Contractor Law
Juan, Mark and Jim were employed as set builders for a company that provided theatre- based entertainment in Massachusetts. They were responsible for the construction of the sets used in the business, under the supervision and direction of management.
For many years, they were classified as independent contractors, not employees. This meant they were not paid overtime, and the company did not pay into unemployment on their behalf. It also meant they were responsible for the self-employment tax on their income (7.5% of gross income). Read more here.
Fitness Instructor Under Independent Contractor Law
Joanne worked as a fitness instructor for a small studio in Massachusetts. She performed duties as an instructor, but also as a manager at the facility. These duties were core to the business of the studio, and she was subject to control and direction from the owners.
Nonetheless, she was classified and paid as an independent contractor throughout her tenure there. Read more here.
Cosmetic Sales Representative and Independent Contractor Law
Lisa worked as a mall-based sales representative for a cosmetic company. She was subject to supervision and control, and the products that she sold were the core products of the company. Nonetheless, she was classified and paid as an independent contractor, not an employee.
Lisa was frequently asked to travel between sites, and her work time plus her midday travel time often exceeded forty hours in a week. She was never paid overtime, and there were no taxes withheld from her paycheck. Read more here.
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