Wage and Hour Laws
Under both state and federal wage and hour laws, employers must pay employees minimum wage and overtime, and must pay them timely, which is generally within a week of when wages are earned. Failure to pay minimum wage, overtime, or pay on time will lead to liability for employers, for up to three times the amount of wrongfully withheld money.
So-called "wage and hour laws" apply to low-wage hourly workers and more highly paid corporate executives.
Another common way that employers try to dodge the strict wage and hour laws is to misclassify workers as "independent contractors." An employer that improperly classifies a worker as an independent contractor acts to deprive the worker of a myriad number of benefits, including health insurance, vacation time, sick time, Social Security contributions, Worker's Compensation insurance, and 401K participation. Massachusetts' Independent Contractor Law requires that an employer meet three requirements in order to classify a worker as an "independent contractor" instead of an "employee." One, the worker must be free from an employer's direction and control, such that the worker's duties are performed with independence. Two, the worker's job must be performed "outside the usual course of business of the employer." Three, an independent contractor must have characteristics of an independent business and hold themselves out to the public in this manner. Massachusetts has one of the strictest Independent Contractor laws in the nation, and the Legislature has made it quite difficult to legitimately qualify as an independent contractor.