New York City’s newest debacle: Freelancer “protection”

New York City

Religious institutions, nonprofits, and even political campaigns could be targeted by political opponents through a new freelance-worker protection bill just passed by the NYC City Council.

The bill exposes anyone who hires independent contractors for more than $800 in services to civil penalties and liability for various violations, including the failure to provide written contracts or pay for the services in question within 30 days. The bill allows for double penalties, civil penalties of up to $25,000 per violation if the City gets involved, and liability for the plaintiff worker’s legal fees if they win in New York City’s plaintiff-friendly and notoriously anti-religion and anti-business courts.

The imposition of these requirements on every user of services (except for governments, including foreign governments, of course) is a direct attack on free enterprise and, really, any and every form of economic activity not performed by The State.

In addition, the bill provides for legal redress through the City’s Office of Labor Standards and the State Supreme Court which sits in each of the City’s five boroughs.

The problem is that these burdens will likely force law-abiding businesses and every other entity to hire more independent contractors (and pay each one less, to avoid the law’s burdens), or move their activities outside the City altogether.

Meanwhile, the unscrupulous actors out there will likely move their business to the illegal immigrant dark corners. A cynic could be accused of suspecting the real agenda here is to make it easier for illegals working “off the grid” to get work from lawbreaking businesses, and of course this wouldn’t be perfect without it coming at the expense of the lawful citizenry, and even obedient visa holders.

So who’s hurt? The people of New York City (or its suburbs) trying to make a living in the gig economy. And every church, synagogue and private school which can’t readily afford a permanent workforce, but now will be vulnerable to lawsuits and harassment from anyone claiming a grievance. The bill could easily become a new legal mechanism for the harassment and persecution of politically or socially disfavored religions, businesses and others.

Eric Dixon

Eric Dixon is a conservative lawyer, campaign strategist and blockchain technology innovator. He has been an election lawyer and delegate candidate for the presidential campaigns of Ted Cruz and Steve Forbes, and has successfully represented media organizations including National Review in lawsuits against the government. A Yale Law School graduate, Mr. Dixon is headquartered out of New York and represents companies, entrepreneurs and investors on financing, corporate governance and regulatory compliance issues. Mr. Dixon is also a former radio talk show host, think tank research director and has completed thirteen marathons.

  1. WOW… NOT EVEN CLOSE. This is to protect small business owners from what happens when giant companies like VIACOM decide it’s worth more to them to just pay their lawyers than to just pay their bills that they themselves contracted for, just because the people they owe money to are small and independent businesses. Did you even READ the thing?

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