An amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law went into effect on January 11, 2020 to clarify that all freelancers and independent contractors are protected from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Its provisions include:
You can report discrimination or harassment to the NYC Commission on Human Rights using this form, regardless of whether you would like to make a formal complaint. The Commission can file a report on your behalf and investigate your case. Where it determines that a violation of the law occurred, you may be entitled to monetary damages and other relief.
File a complaint or reach out with questions:
Visit nyc.gov/humanrights to learn more, and read the full text of the law here.
The law protects all freelancers regardless of whether they have a formal contract, whether the work requires that they are on-site regularly or not, or whether it is a short-term or long-term relationship. Apps and online platforms may also be liable if they directly engage in discrimination against a freelancer who uses their platform or if a customer who uses their platform to hire a freelancer engages in unlawful discrimination.
If you wish to file a complaint with the NYC Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR), you must do so within one year of the last alleged act of discrimination; for gender-based harassment, you have three years after the last alleged act of discrimination. If you wish to file a complaint in State Court, you have three years to do so after the last alleged act of discrimination. You may not file both with the NYCCHR and in State Court.
Hiring parties are required to have all their workers — including freelancers — complete annual sexual harassment training if:
Freelancers are not required to complete sexual harassment training more than once a year — and can provide proof of completion to subsequent hiring parties.
This page is a publication of Freelancers Union. Our purpose in publishing this advisory is to inform freelancers and businesses that hire freelancers about the provisions of the Human Rights law. It is not intended, nor should it be used, as a substitute for specific legal advice as legal counsel may only be given in response to inquiries regarding particular situations.