WCB Abuse Investigation Unit v. Holyoke

Insurance Company

Date Decided

April 24, 2014

Panel Members

Glen Goodnough

Evelyn Knopf

Mike Stovall


Independent Contractor Independent Contractor Penalties Statutory Construction


Penalties Employee v Contractor §324(3) §401 §402 §105-A

File Size

380 KB


Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys

Appellate Division provides good discussion of the penalty requirement of § 324(3) where an employer fails to “secure payment” of workers’ compensation (WC insurance coverage) as required in §§ 401 and 403.

Holyoke is a building contractor that had 14 workers it deemed to be employees and 16 others it deemed to be independent contractors, and for which it had obtained pre-determination from the Board as independent contractors. Its WC insurance policy provided coverage for the 14 employees and provided that it would cover any workers later deemed to be employees.

An Audit concluded that Holyoke violated the Act because it failed to list the 16 independent contractors as employees. After hearing, an ALJ found that 9 of the 16 were misclassified and should have been listed as employees for coverage purposes. The status of the other 7 could not be determined on the evidence. The ALJ imposed a $30,000 penalty.

The Appellate panel upheld the ALJ’s conclusion that the fact the policy covered workers later deemed to be employees did not meet Holyoke’s obligation to secure payment for those employees under the Act. Good discussion of § 105-A “Construction Contractors”.

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