Employers who misclassify their workers as independent contractors now have even more to worry about. In August, the state’s highest court made clear they could pay huge damages for this transgression of the law, even if they merely made an honest mistake.
In a majority opinion, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court concluded that employers can’t defend an independent contractor classification lawsuit by claiming a worker would have made less money if he/she had been properly classified as an employee. Damages are not measured by the difference between what a worker received and what he would have received as an employee. Instead, under the independent contractor provisions of the state’s Wage Act, damages equal the value of “wages and benefits [a worker] should have received as an employee, but did not,” the court wrote. [Read more…]