WASHINGTON, DC — The leaders of Fight for Freelancers USA, a nonpartisan, ad hoc coalition of independent contractors and similar solopreneurs, has filed a complaint contesting a final U.S. Labor Dept. rule that perpetrates alleged “freelance busting,” the freelancers’ coalition announced.
The complaint, filed in federal court against the Labor Dept. and several of its officials, challenges a recently issued independent contractor final rule that the government ordered must take effect on March 11. The lawsuit asks that the court find the Department’s rulemaking invalid.
“The only thing the Dept. of Labor clarifies with this rule is a continued pattern of freelance busting against tens of millions of Americans whose preference is to remain self-employed,” said Kim Kavin, co-founder of Fight for Freelancers, which has been battling to protect independent contractors – including those with ties to the kitchen and bath market – from allegedly deleterious government policymaking.
“This rule is so vague that it will give the Department carte blanche to misclassify almost any independent contractor it chooses to target, destroying hard-working, entrepreneurial people’s incomes and careers all across the country,” Kavin said.
During the rulemaking’s public comment period, Fight for Freelancers USA filed a document explaining how it felt the rule would threaten independent contractors’ businesses, including the provision that if the work they perform is deemed critical, necessary, or central to a client’s business, then the independent contractor should be classified as the client’s employee.
“This can be used to paint a bull’s-eye on many legal independent contractor arrangements,” Freelancers USA said. “Some of us who have a few dozen clients would have to become employees of all these companies – likely lower-paid, part-time employees with no benefits – if we’re hired at all.”
Freelancers USA said it is also “dismayed” by a media narrative that the Labor Dept.’s “attempt to misclassify independent contractors is a way to protect them.”
“Most independent contractors are more satisfied with their working relationships than Americans in the types of traditional employer-employee roles that the Department champions,” the organization said. “We will continue to advocate however we can for these independent contractors, who simply want to keep their chosen careers.”
Kitchen & Bath Design News contributor Jamie Gold points out the many ways the kitchen and bath industry can be negatively impacted by this new regulation, including ending mutually-beneficial relationships for designers who take on overflow projects for showrooms, independent project managers who contract with multiple design-build firms, trainers who contract with educational companies, or appliance installers who contract with multiple appliance retailers. Gold herself has been contracting with KBDN for 10 years, Forbes.com for five and the NKBA for about as long as a member of its Chapter Presenter’s Program. “I’m one of the many solopreneurs in our industry who enjoy the freedom, flexibility and financial advantages of self-employment. There’s no way I’d go to work for someone else at this point in my career, even on paper,” Gold states.