Businesses in Massachusetts must adhere to both federal and state laws when paying and providing benefits to their employees. Some of the most important laws that dictate an employee’s benefits are those regarding the status of a worker. This includes both exempt and non-exempt statuses, as well as whether or not one is classified as an independent contractor.
Sometimes businesses intentionally misclassify their employees to save money, while others might do so as a mistake.
It’s important for workers in Massachusetts to know their official status; if you’ve been misclassified, you could be getting fewer benefits than you’re entitled to.
The Difference Between an Exempt and a Non-Exempt Employee
A non-exempt employee is entitled to all the payments and benefits set forth by federal and Massachusetts laws. Exempt employees, on the other hand, are not eligible for key benefits like overtime pay and minimum wage.
Some industries (agriculture, seasonal amusement, and some food service industries) have more loopholes they can take advantage of in the laws mandating these benefits.
Individual workers can also be considered exempt if they hold certain positions within a company or meet a salary threshold set by the federal government ($684 per work week).
Who Is Considered an Exempt Employee?
Many employees classified as administrators, executives, and professionals are exempt unless they make less than $684 per week. Beyond these “white collar” workers, the list of exempt employees is a hodge-podge of different industries and positions. For example, some truck drivers, fisherman, seasonal farmworkers, salespersons, and mechanics are also considered exempt.
Misclassification Is a Problem for Many Employees
Employers sometimes look for creative ways to pay workers less than they’re owed. For example, an employer might give an employee the title of an administrator to avoid paying that worker overtime or giving them paid time off.
Misclassification of Independent Contractors
Misclassification is also a problem that extends well beyond exempt and non-exempt employees. Many workers are misclassified as independent contractors, when they should be considered employees with full rights to benefits and workers’ compensation.
According to Massachusetts law, a worker should not be classified as an employee if:
- The worker is free from control and direction in their role, both contractually and in practice.
- The service performed is outside the normal scope of the business of the employer.
- The worker regularly engages in an independently established trade, occupation, or business like the one involved in the service performed for the employer.
What If You’ve Been Misclassified?
As you can see, being classified properly by your employer can have massive implications for the benefits and payment you receive. At Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, we help workers who have been hurt on the job or denied workers’ compensation benefits, so we’ve seen the implications for misclassified workers once it’s time for them receive benefits.
Even if your employer’s classification of you restricts your access to workers’ compensation, you should know you have legal options available. In some cases, we work with clients to prove that they have misclassified. In other cases, we help clients receive compensation for work injuries through third-party liability claims, which are much like personal injury cases.
Let Jason Stone Injury Lawyers Help You
We know how difficult it can be to work hard for your employer only to be denied essential benefits and compensation you’re eligible for. We’ve helped many clients throughout Massachusetts get what they’re owed from their employer.
Contact the Boston workers’ compensation attorneys at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation with our team.