Contactors face a lack of workplace protections

Those who live or work in Arizona or anywhere in the United States as a freelancer have fewer rights than employees do. For example, those who work on a freelance or contract basis don't have the protections derived from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. They also don't have the ability to sue if an employer violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. Workplace health and safety regulations don't generally apply to those working on a freelance basis.

Workers may face a scenario in which they are labeled as contractors when they should be labeled as employees. This is important because workers who are deemed to be contractors tend to cost less for employers. A member of the House from Washington, D.C., has proposed legislation that would provide all workers with protections against discrimination from those they work for.

A lack of data may be clouding the discussion when it comes to how large the problem of sexual harassment is for contract workers. According to an informal study from freelance site HoneyBook, nearly half of all workers have been sexually harassed. However, the EEOC does not track complaints made by contractors since they are not legally actionable. Fear of reprisal or earning poor reviews from clients are reasons why harassment victims don't leave after being victimized.

Those who face sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination in the workplace may have recourse regardless of their classification. For example, it may be possible to press charges against someone who touches, gropes or otherwise threatens harm to an individual. An attorney may be able to review a case to determine the best way to proceed. It might be possible to obtain compensation in a settlement or go through a formal trial if necessary.

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