Case On Point
In this month's case, the court considers the applicability of New York City's Freelance Isn't Free Act.
Chen v Romona Keveza Collection LLC
(N.Y. App. Div., 1st Dept. 2022)
New York City enacted the Freelance Isn't Free Act to protect freelancers against non-payment by customers. Customers who fail to pay are potentially liable for double damages, attorneys' fees and costs. At issue on appeal was whether a model who contracted to provide services to the defendant through an agency met the definition of "freelancer" under the statute. FIFA defines a "freelance worker" as "any natural person or any organization composed of no more than one natural person, whether or not incorporated or employing a trade name, that is hired or retained as an independent contractor by a hiring party to services in exchange for compensation.
Defendant contended it contracted for the model's services through the agency and therefore that the model was employed by the agency. Although the statute contained various exceptions from these definitions, there was no exception for individuals who contracted through a third party. The Court concluded that additional discovery was needed regarding her status and remanded the case to the trial court to permit the factual record to be developed further.