NYC Int No. 136 passed – Freelancers and Independent Contractors protected under Section 8-107(23)

My reading of today’s blog for The HR Learning Podcast regarding the NYC Int No 136 that passed yesterday, 9/12/19 providing Independent Contractors and Freelancers discrimination protections under Section 8-107(23).

Yes, that is a big long title. But, only because I think that this city-wide bill passed by the City Council, that’s the NYC City Council’s Committee on Civil and Human Rights, could be very important to the State of New York and eventually the rest of the country as it relates to independent contractors and those that hire them.

This is important because in today’s world, the independent worker is part of a growing number of professionals that currently work without protections that most regular employees are granted. These are rights that protect workers from harassment and discrimination. If you are an employer, the following list of discrimination protections should sound familiar:

Protections from discrimination on the basis of: age, arrest or conviction record, caregiver status, color, credit history, disability, gender, gender identity, immigration status, marital or partnership status, military service, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion/creed, salary history, sexual reproduction health decisions, sexual orientation, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking, unemployment status and additional protections against retaliation

According to the NYC Consumer Affairs website, under the Freelance Isn’t Free Act (Local Law 140 of 2016), the following are definitions of what constitutes Freelance Workers and hiring party:

“A Freelance Worker, is any individual hired or retained as an independent contractor by a hiring party to provide services for compensation. Freelancer services may be commonly referred to as gigs, tasks, projects, side or contingent work, working on contract or spec, freelancing, contracting, subcontracting, consulting, moonlighting, entrepreneurship, alternative arrangements, self-employment, etc. Whether or not you are an “independent contractor” depends on a variety of factors and the nature of your work arrangement.

hiring party is any individual or business, other than a government entity, who hires a freelance worker.”

The new law details:

Section one of the bill amends the definition of “employer” under § 8-102, by modifying the time period when an employer is considered to employ four persons, thereby triggering obligations under the NYCHRL. The time period proposed in this bill would run from 12 months prior to the unlawful discriminatory practice and continue through until the end of the unlawful discriminatory practice. The definition of employer is also amended to apply to independent contractors regardless of whether they themselves are employers. Finally, the definition is clarified to include an employer’s parent, spouse, domestic partner or child towards the four person employee requirement if they are employed by such employer.  

Section two of the bill implements a minor stylistic drafting update. Section three of the bill amends § 8-107(23) to clarify that the employment protections of Chapter 1 of Title 8 of the NYCHRL apply to freelancers and independent contractors. Int. No. 136-A takes effect 90 days after it becomes law.

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