Independent contractors such as consultants, suppliers, freelancers, and vendors work more autonomously than employees, generally setting their own fees/rates as well as their own schedules. Employees and independent contractors were protected differently under the law when it came to employment-related matters involving sexual harassment claims.
Repercussions of the #MeToo movement has lawmakers reconsidering independent contractors and their protections against workplace sexual harassment. On May 9th, 2018, New York City Major de Blasio signed legislation that furthers protections for New York City employees from workplace sexual harassment. One such provision states that independent contractors are now afforded the same protections as employees in cases of sexual harassment.
Prior to this legislation, independent contractors were limited in their ability to sue their employers for sexual harassment. If you are an independent contractor working in New York City, you are now protected by both New York State and New York City laws in the same way an employee would be protected from workplace sexual harassment. Anti-sexual harassment training must explicitly aim to protect both employees and independent contractors from sexual harassment.
For example, a New York City female real estate agent may face sexual harassment from other agents in her office. She now has the right to bring a legal claim against her whom allows this type of hostile work environment to persist. Additionally, independent contractors are often put in positions where they must work directly with a client. That client may be a sexual harasser.
As an independent contractor, you may have qualms over expressing your concerns to your employer. However, employers must now take greater precautions when it comes to your reports of sexual harassment as well as your working conditions, or potentially face a serious legal claim. It should be their priority to keep you safe from workplace sexual harassment. Should they ignore your concerns of sexual harassment by clients or coworkers and fail to keep you safe from sexual harassment, you have the right to take legal action against them.
Since New York State and New York City laws now protect independent contractors in the same way they protect employees from sexual harassment, it is also unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an independent contractor under their employment should they express concerns of workplace sexual harassment. If you are an independent contractor working in New York State or New York City, and you feel you are experiencing workplace sexual harassment, you may want to consider reporting your concerns to the appropriate parties and maintaining good documentation, in writing (if possible), of your communication(s). Should they fail to remedy the issue, contact a New York City Sexual Harassment Attorney today.
Leeds Brown Law, P.C., has successfully managed employment-related cases for over 30 years. One of the core focuses we excel at is protecting the rights of employees who have experienced sexual harassment at work. Your career is of the utmost importance, and our primary aim is to protect your career, your rights as an employee, and your rights as a human being. You deserve powerful legal counsel as much as you deserve justice. And we can see to it that you’re afforded both. We do not tolerate sexual harassment, and neither should you endure it. We offer free, confidential consultations. If you’re an independent contractor and believe you’re experiencing sexual harassment on the job, contact us right away via email or by phone at (212) 661-4370 or (516) 873-9550.