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Former Baltimore nonprofit employee claims he was misclassified as a contractor

A former East Baltimore Development Inc. employee claims he was intentionally misclassified as an independent contractor and deprived of benefits for several years in a federal lawsuit.

Stephen M. Campbell worked for EBDI, a nonprofit organization that works to develop East Baltimore communities, between 2010 and 2015, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore Monday. Campbell was hired as a full-time employee, first as a senior level engineer then as director of engineering and construction for the real estate division.

In 2012, Campbell was allegedly approached by the CEO of EBDI and told he needed to convert from an employee to an independent contractor; based on the discussions he believed he would be fired if he did not agree, according to the complaint. He signed a contract agreement in November 2012 stating he was being hired as an independent contractor but continued to perform the same duties.

When a new CEO joined EBDI in January 2015, Campbell met with him to explain he had been misclassified and asked to be classified as an employee again, the complaint asserts. Instead, he was told that his company email account and director title were being taken away, which Campbell calls a “further cover-up (of) the misclassification.” He was given notice of termination in March 2015 and his last day was in June.

In October 2015, Campbell notified the Internal Revenue Service of the misclassification and EBDI reclassified Campbell as an employee in November 2015

Though EBDI has agreed to participate in the IRS’ voluntary reclassification settlement program to make remedial payments to the government, Campbell alleges he lost participation in benefits, vacation and sick pay, tax benefits and wages as a result of the misclassification.

The complaint alleges violations of the Internal Revenue Code, Fair Labor Standards Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act and Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Laws. Campbell also alleges fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation and quantum meruit. Campbell seeks unspecified compensatory damages.

Campbell is represented by Annapolis solo practitioner Ruth Ann Azeredo and Washington solo practitioner Timothy W. Romberger. Azeredo and Romberger did not respond to requests for comment.

The case is Stephen M. Campbell v. East Baltimore Development Inc., 1:17-cv-01662-JFM.

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