“Freelance Isn’t Free Act” Claim Dismissed on Geographic Grounds

In Turner v. Sheppard Grain Enterprises, LLC, No. 652509/2019, 2020 WL 3432946 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County June 23, 2020), the court dismissed plaintiff’s “Freelance Isn’t Free Act” claim because the work done was not sufficiently connected to New York City.

From the decision:

Because the law provides no guidance on how to assess the application of FIFA, the Court must consider the purpose and intent of the law in light of the present circumstances. When considering another city law, the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”), the Court of Appeals adopted the impact requirement, which holds that “the nonresident plaintiff must demonstrate that the alleged discriminatory conduct had an ‘impact’ within the city” (Hoffman v Parade Publs., 15 NY3d 285, 290, 907 NYS2d 145 [2010]).

The Court observes that the NYCHRL contains an entire section (8-101) about the policy of the NYCHRL and it specifically mentions the city’s inhabitants. No such language is included in FIFA. But the Court sees no reason to depart from this standard when evaluating whether a non-resident (plaintiff lives in Connecticut and does his work remotely there) should be afforded the protections of FIFA.

Under the impact standard, the Court finds that plaintiff is not entitled to the protections of FIFA because he is not a New York City resident and he performed the vast majority of his work from Connecticut. In fact, the termination letter is addressed to plaintiff at a location in Darien, Connecticut (NYSCEF Doc. No. 33). While plaintiff attempts to document that he went to a few meetings in New York City (NYSCEF Doc. No. 31, ¶ 10), that does not sufficiently establish that he is entitled to the protections of a New York City provision.

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