A worker’s status as an “employee” or “independent contractor” determines the amount of protection she will receive under a vast array of workplace laws. However, the definitions of “employee” and “independent contractor” are increasingly misapplied in today’s labor market. The resulting worker misclassification is a widely recognized problem that prevents workers from knowing and asserting their rights. Incongruous statutory standards for defining worker status exacerbate worker misclassification. In Ives Camargo’s Case, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court contended with such incongruities in a decision that determined the correct standard for defining who is an “employee” and “independent contractor” under Massachusetts workers’ compensation law. The Court’s holding affirmed the Commonwealth’s current definitional system for worker status in which, paradoxically, “the same worker can be an employee for one purpose but an independent contractor for another.” This Note argues that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court missed an opportunity in Camargo to clarify the incongruous standards used to define worker status in Massachusetts. In the wake of Camargo, this Note calls for a uniform definition of “independent contractor” across the Commonwealth’s workplace laws.
Victoria Arend Carbone, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW—THE CASE OF CAMARGO AND THE CONUNDRUM OF DEFINING WORKER STATUS UNDER MASSACHUSETTS WORKPLACE LAWS, 42 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 259 (2020), https://digitalcommons.law.wne.edu/lawreview/vol42/iss2/5