Understanding the Freelance Isn’t Free Act Recently Passed by the New York State Legislature

The New York State legislature recently passed the Freelance Isn’t Free Act (“FIFA”) and the bill is expected to be delivered to the Governor later this year.  If passed into law, FIFA would provide important protections for independent contractors who are not afforded protections under the employment laws.      

To be covered by FIFA, an independent contractor needs to qualify as a “freelance worker.”   A freelance worker is an independent contractor who is retained by a hiring party to provide services for at least $800 during the preceding 120 days.  A “hiring party” is defined as “any person who retains a freelance worker to provide any service, other than: (i) the United States Government; (ii) the state of New York []; (iii) a municipality []; or (iv) any foreign government.” 

FIFA would provide increased protections to independent contractors who qualify as freelance workers.  FIFA requires a written agreement between the hiring party and the freelance worker, and the hiring party must provide the freelance worker with a copy of the contract.  If a hiring party fails to pay a freelance worker pursuant to the timeframe stated in the agreement or, if there is no timeframe stated in the agreement, within 30 days after the freelance worker completes his or her work, then the freelance worker can commence a civil action and is entitled to statutory damages equal to the value of the underlying contract, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and injunctive relief.

FIFA would also make it unlawful for a hiring party to “threaten, intimidate, discipline, harass, deny a work opportunity to, or discriminate against a freelance worker, or take any other action that penalizes a freelance worker for, or is reasonably likely to deter a freelance worker from, exercising or attempting to exercise any right guaranteed under [FIFA], or from obtaining any future work opportunity because the freelance worker has done so.”  If a hiring party does engage is such conduct, then the freelance worker can recover statutory damages equal to the value of the underlying contract.  

If you feel that your employer has failed to pay you money you are owed or has discriminated or retaliated against you, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to understand your rights and whether you can pursue any claims.  To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys and to learn more about your legal rights, call our offices today at (877) 247-4292 or (212) 983-9330 or send an email to tcrabill@faruqilaw.com.  

About Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP

Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP focuses on complex civil litigation, including securities, antitrust, wage and hour, personal injury and consumer class actions as well as shareholder derivative and merger and transactional litigation. The firm is headquartered in New York, and maintains offices in California, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Since its founding in 1995, Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP has served as lead or co-lead counsel in numerous high-profile cases which ultimately provided significant recoveries to investors, direct purchasers, consumers and employees.

To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys and to learn more about your legal rights, call our offices today at (877) 247-4292 or (212) 983-9330.

About Taylor Crabill

Taylor Crabill's practice is focused on employment litigation. Mr. Crabill is an Associate in the firm's New York Office.

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