Although we haven't been looking for them, wage and hour stories are prominent in the employment law news these days. This one comes from Massachusetts, via Lee Sevier at the Wage & Hour – Developments & Highlights blog.
Here a worker was misclassified by the employer as an independent contractor rather than an employee. The employer was able to show that the employee made more when paid more as a contractor than he would have been if properly classified as an employee. So, one might think, no harm, no foul.
But in employment law, as in Wonderland, sometimes up is down and down is up and nothing's quite as it seems. And so it was in Somers v. Converged Access, Inc. The court held that the employee could still recover damages based upon his misclassification by the employer, even though he benefited financially from it.
The lesson, as our fellow blogger well put it, is that employers need "to make sure your independent contractors truly are independent, because if a person is misclassified as an independent contractor, he can still seek damages even if as an employee he would have been paid less."