Writers and journalists may be losing out on work as a result of an April 2018 California Supreme Court ruling that restricts who can be declared a freelancer. While the ruling in Dynamex Operations West Inc. vs. Superior Court of Los Angeles was intended to prevent employers from reclassifying certain types of workers as contractors as a way to avoid providing them with the same benefits and opportunities as full-time workers, the ruling has had unintended negative consequences for those workers who are and wish to have the option to remain independent contractors.
“We’re hearing that journalists across the state are losing work because of this case. Reuters has stopped using freelancers in California because of the ruling, and the president of the Society of American Travel Writers tells me that his group’s California members—and he himself—will soon lose significant work because a New Jersey-based company is afraid of the effects of the Dynamex case. I’ve also lost a potential gig with a public broadcaster, apparently because of concerns about the case,” reports journalist Randy Dotinga, who serves on the board of the American Society of Journalists.
The Authors Guild is joining forces with Mr. Dotinga and other journalists and organizations to lobby the new California state legislature to clarify the rules so that legitimate freelance journalists can continue to work as freelancers and not lose work due to publications’ fears that they will have to treat all journalists as employees and provide employee benefits and pay employment taxes.
This news story from Sacramento’s Capitol Weekly provides more details on the situation. If any of our members are being affected by this decision, please let us know so you can join us in our advocacy to protect your right to freelance in California. In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the situation.