Freelance journalists challenge independent contractor law

Freelance writers and photographers filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging California’s law providing wage and benefits to independent contractors. They say the law limits their free speech and constitutes a government restriction on the free press. With the passage of the law, Vox Media’s SB nation, a sports media outlet, announced it is reducing its use of freelancers. (San Francisco Chronicle, December 17, 2019, by Don Thompson of the Associated Press)

The plaintiffs complain that the law unfairly caps the allowance for journalists at 35 submissions per year before they would have to be employed as a part-time or full-time worker. (The Hollywood Reporter, December 19, 2019, by Katie Kilkenny)

Intended to give workers sustainable jobs, the law may have an adverse effect on freelance journalists who may meet the cap of 35 submissions a year in just a month. The bill’s author Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez argues that the law is needed to provide living wages for journalists and to prevent news outlets from using freelancers to break newsroom unions. (The Hollywood Reporter, October 17, 2019, by Katie Kilkenny)

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