Under Massachusetts employment law, every employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for its employees. Proper workers’ compensation insurance will provide coverage for most employee related injuries and illnesses sustained during the course of employment. According to Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation law, an employee is defined as “every person in the service of another under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written.” Limited exceptions exist for certain specialized professions and most notably for independent contractors. However, recent changes to the law have made it very difficult for employers to classify an individual as an independent contractor, and the advice of an experienced Massachusetts employment law attorney should be sought before making this classification.
Massachusetts law provides stiff statutory penalties and fines for business that fail to obtain the appropriate level of workers’ compensation coverage, including the issuance of a Stop Work Order from the Department of Industrial Accidents, a fine of $100 per day, and potential criminal sanctions. In addition, employers operating without workers’ compensation coverage in Massachusetts are subject to traditional tort law claims if an employee is injured on the job. As such, assuring your business has the appropriate level of workers’ compensation insurance is critical to the success and stability of your business.
If you have questions about Massachusetts employment law, workers’ compensation insurance, or independent contractors, please contact the employment law attorneys at Doherty, Ciechanowski, Dugan & Cannon.