Last month, New York City joined an emerging national trend toward increased protections for independent contractors and freelance workers, adopting a new law, Int. 136-A, extending to independent contractors and freelancers the protections afforded to employees under the city’s Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).
Effective January 11, 2020, the NYCHRL will apply to employers that employ four or more persons – now defined to include independent contractors and freelancers – during the twelve (12) month period before the start of an unlawful discriminatory practice, and continuing through the end of that practice.
As a result, independent contractors and freelancers will be able to file complaints with the city’s Commission on Human Rights, and they will be protected against retaliation for reporting discrimination or harassment. Employers should be prepared to apply the NYCHRL’s protections to independent contractors and freelancers, including: New York City’s salary history question ban, preventing employers from inquiring into an applicant’s salary history before extending an offer; the Fair Chance Act, which prevents employers from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal record before making a job offer; and the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act, restricting employers’ ability to conduct credit checks on applicants and employees.