One of the newest, effective July 1, 2023, applies to the City of Los Angeles and is called the Freelance Worker Protection Ordinance (FWPO). The FWPO covers freelance workers in Los Angeles and requires a written contract for many independent contractors and freelance workers there.
Here is what LA freelance workers, independent contractors, and employers need to know.
The Ordinance Covers All Los Angeles Employers
All Los Angeles employers, referred to as the “Hiring Entity” in the FWPO, are covered by the ordinance.
Hiring entities are those regularly engaged in business or commercial activity, including owning or operating a trade or business, a non-profit business, or an entity representing itself as engaging in any trade or business.
Each employer contracting with a freelance worker valued at $600 or more — by itself or aggregated — in a calendar year must write the agreement.
The written agreement must include the following:
- The employer and freelance worker’s name, address, phone number, and e-mail.
- An itemization of all services to be provided, the value of those services, and the rate and method of compensation.
- The date by which the employer must pay or how such date will be determined.
In addition, the hiring entity must provide full payment of the contract on or before the date specified in the agreement, or if the contract does not specify a due date or if there is no written contract, no later than 30 days after the services are rendered.
Written records of the contracts and payments, and any other records that demonstrate compliance with the ordinance, must be kept by the employer for at least four years.
What are the Penalties for Violating the Los Angeles Freelance Worker Protection Ordinance?
Los Angeles freelance workers are entitled to file a complaint or civil action against a hiring entity that violates the ordinance.
Damages a freelance worker may pursue for FWPO violations include:
- An award of $250 if the freelance worker requested a written contract before commencing work and the employer refused.
- If the employer fails to pay for the services timely, the freelance worker shall be awarded damages up to twice the unpaid amount under the contract.
- For any other violations of the ordinance, the freelance worker shall be awarded the greater of the value of the contract or the work performed; and
- The freelance worker may be entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs.
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against freelance workers that oppose practices forbidden by the ordinance, participate in proceedings related to the ordinance, lawfully seek to enforce rights under the ordinance, and/or assert or attempt to assert rights under the ordinance.
If you have questions about your California employment law rights, contact our experienced Los Angeles County employment law attorneys at Mehtani Law Offices by calling 310-776-3590 or contact us online for help today.