On May 15th, the Freelance Isn’t Free Act (“FIFA”) went into effect in New York City. The Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) recently issued guidelines to help employers comply with the law.
Coverage and Immigration Status
FIFA protects all freelance workers regardless of their immigration status.
Contract Value Threshold
As previously explained, FIFA requires parties that retain freelance workers to provide any service where the contract between them has a value of $800 or more to reduce their agreement to a written contract. Under the DCA guidelines, the value of the contract includes “the reasonable value of all actual or anticipated services, costs for supplies, and any other expenses under the contract.”
FIFA prohibits hiring parties from retaliating against a freelance worker who exercises his/her rights under FIFA. Under the DCA guidelines, retaliation includes, but is not limited to, any adverse action related to perceived or actual immigration status or work authorization. In order to prove retaliation, a freelance worker can provide circumstantial or actual evidence of the hiring party’s adverse action. Any hiring party who denies a work opportunity to a freelance worker covered under FIFA is liable of retaliation regardless of whether a contract exists between them.
Waiver of Rights
All waivers or limitation for a freelance worker to participate or receive money in a judicial action are invalid as a matter of law under FIFA.
Employers should ensure that contracts entered into with freelance workers (or existing contracts that are renewed) with a value of $800 or more comply with FIFA and the published DCA rules.
This post was written with assistance from Corben J. Green, a 2017 Summer Associate at Epstein Becker Green.