Bill Expanding NYC Human Rights Law to Protect Independent Contractors and Freelancers Becomes Law

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Seyfarth Synopsis: Once effective, the anti-discrimination and retaliation provisions of the NYC Human Rights Law will apply to freelancers and independent contractors. In addition, independent contractors and employed family members will also count toward the requisite four persons to trigger coverage under the law.

The law that will expand the NYC Human Rights Law to independent contractors and freelancers is effective January 11, 2020.

The law also revises the categories of workers that count toward the requisite four or more employees to trigger coverage under the law to include independent contractors and a family member who is an employee. More employers will therefore be covered under the law in January than are currently subject to its protections.

This change is yet another expansion of worker protections to contractors, following the passage of the Freelance Isn’t Free Act several years ago. For more on that law, see our prior alert here.

New York City employers should also be aware of new guidance regarding national origin discrimination, and that the law prohibiting retaliation against anyone who requests a reasonable accommodation goes into effect November 11, 2019. Finally, effective November 18, 2019, New York State will require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees who are victims of domestic violence.

What’s Next for Employers?

Employers should be aware of these new obligations and consider revising their policies and training human resources professionals and supervisors in order to implement workplace practices to comply with the law.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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