Rat czar? “Bloodthirsty” NYC Has Special Rules for Retaining Independent Contractors

Kathleen Corradi has been an educator, a land use and sustainability expert and — now — New York City’s first Rat Czar.

The word czar derives from the Latin Caesar and had been used by the Russians to describe their emperor from the 1500s until the 1917 February Revolution, which led to Czar Nicholas II’s unemployment (and, not to bury the lede, the subsequent imprisonment and murder of the former czar, his family and staff).

But Ms. Corradi does not seek to be emperor of the rats. She seeks to eradicate them. Hell of a thing for an emperor to do, don’t you think?

NYC advertised the position with a bit of whimsy, seeking someone “bloodthirsty” with a “general aura of bassassery.”

NYC exercises considerably less whimsy, however, when dealing with independent contractors in its midst.

In most jurisdictions, independent contractors receive none of the protections of employees. NYC, however, imposes some additional burdens on businesses retaining contractors. Here are four things that New Yorkers retaining independent contractors should know:

1. NYC independent contractors are protected against discrimination and harassment under the NYC Human Rights Law.

2. NYC businesses with 15 or more workers must provide annual sexual harassment training to independent contractors, if the contractors (a) work for that business more than 80 hours in a calendar year, and (b) perform on at least 90 days, which don’t have to be consecutive.

3. NYC’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act requires written contracts with freelancers who provide services worth $800 or more, and the contracts must include specified information. This law applies to individuals retaining contractors, not just businesses.

4. NYC rideshare drivers must receive at least a specified minimum wage.

Now that’s some badasserry. (Rats!)

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© 2023 Todd Lebowitz, posted on WhoIsMyEmployee.com, Exploring Issues of Independent Contractor Misclassification and Joint Employment. All rights reserved.