Independent Contractors: Did you know that if your employer has misclassified you as an independent contractor you could be owed thousands?

“BOSTON – A Sharon husband and wife who own insulation companies in Rhode Island and Sharon, respectively, have been cited more than $58,000 in restitution and fines for failing to pay the prevailing wage, misclassifying workers as independent contractors, and record keeping violations, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced today.

“All workers on public construction projects in the Commonwealth deserve to be paid what they are rightfully owed under the law, said AG Coakley. “Any employer that has a state or municipal contract must abide by the rules, which includes properly classifying their employees in their records. …” Read the rest of the press release here.

Did you know that if your employer has misclassified you as an independent contractor you could be owed thousands in back pay and benefits?

When an employer misclassifies employees as  independent contractors, it saves them money.  However,  the savings come at the expense of  employees and his/her family.  By misclassifying employees as independent contractors, employers illegally avoid  paying:  1) Social Security; 2) Medicare;  3) Federal unemployment insurance taxes.  Also, the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA’s) minimum wage and overtime requirements don’t apply to independent contractors, and they are denied benefits under the Family Medical Leave Act and many other protections.

If you work in the service or construction industry, and you are being paid as an independent contractor instead of as an employee, you may be entitled to recover.  If you are working on a public project paid for by public funds, (for example roofing a public school), and your employer is misclassifying you as an independent contractor, you could also be entitled to a whistleblower award.  Call Attorney Preston W. Leonard at (617)329-1295 to learn more.  The IRS publishes useful information about the independent contractor/employee distinction here.

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