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Freelancer and Independent Contractor Law

Sometimes it can be hard for a person to hold a regular 9-5 job due to their schedule. Many people enjoy working from home at their convenience because they have family duties, a lack of transportation, or other obligations. Because of this, many people pick up freelance work.

Freelancing is becoming quite popular. Many of those in the computer field, such as IT workers, tech support, writers, editors, and graphic designers are choosing to work from home. Even managers and HR consultants enjoy the freelance lifestyle.

However, freelancing is not all that it is cracked up to be. One common issue that freelancers experience is timely payment. Many freelancers accept jobs and complete them, only to never receive payment.

Another issue is too much control. Freelancers are not employees. A company can not force an independent contractor to work in a certain location at a specific time.

Many companies think hiring a freelancer is an easy way to get out of paying an employee, but if they do not follow the law, they can face serious consequences. If you are an independent contractor, make sure you understand the law so you can protect yourself.

Independent Contractor Law

Independent contractors have the following rights:

  • They can work from anywhere. An independent contractor cannot be forced to work in an employer’s office. Location should be determined by the contractor, whether they want to work from home, a beach, or a coffee shop.
  • They can work at any time. Your work time should not be controlled by the employer. As long as you get the project done on time, you should be able to work morning, afternoon, or night.
  • You control the process. An employer should not be training you on a specific process. You are hired for your skills and you should control the end result.
  • You can take on multiple clients. As a freelancer, you should not be limited to the work you can do. You have a right to work for multiple companies—even competitors.

The Freelance Isn’t Free Act

New York has taken steps to protect freelancers through the Local Law 140 of 2016. Also known as the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, this law provides for freelancers to receive timely payment, a contract outlining the scope of their work, and protection from retaliation for reporting an illegal activity by an employer.

The cases are reviewed in state court. An employer found to be in violation may be forced to pay injunctive relief, double damages, and lawyer’s fees. If the company has violated the law on multiple occasions, it may be fined up to $25,000.

Contact a New York Employment Law Attorney

Many freelance workers get taken advantage of because they are not considered permanent workers. Many employers refuse to remit payment or abide by a contract. Freelancers and independent workers should know that they have rights and they should make sure they get paid for the work they complete and submit.

If you are having issues getting paid by an employer, the experienced New York employment law attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can help. Under New York law, the company could be penalized and forced to pay financial damages, including your attorney’s fees. Schedule a free consultation by calling (800) 240-9269.

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