• Advocacy

L'Officiel "Freelance Isn't Free" Settlement: How to Get Your Payment

We are thrilled to share an enormous victory for freelancers in New York City: The “Freelance Isn’t Free Act” is in action against a major media company, and working to get freelancers the compensation they’re owed. Recently, there’s been a resolution to a lawsuit filed by the city in 2021 against L'Officiel USA for failing to pay freelancers on time, in full, or at all.

How to Claim Your Part of the Settlement

As part of the settlement, L’Officiel USA has agreed to pay double damages to freelancers who are owed money for freelance services provided anywhere in the United States to L’Officiel USA (including its related domestic titles L’Officiel USA Hommes or L’Officiel USA ART) or provided in New York City to an affiliated foreign L’Officiel title or company between January 1, 2017 and July 11, 2023.

If you believe that you may be owed compensation for freelance services that you provided during that period, you may file a claim by filling out a Claims Form and submitting it to Jason Ho, L’Officiel USA’s Manager of Finance and Human Resources ( AND to no later than February 7, 2024.

What Does This Mean For Future Nonpayment Suits?

“L’Officiel has learned the hard way that not paying their freelancers is out of fashion,” said Rafael Espinal, executive director, Freelancers Union. “The Freelancers Union applauds the mayor and DCWP for taking concrete action to ensure that no matter how powerful a brand is, and no matter where their headquarters might be based, if they hire New York City workers, they have to follow New York City laws. This is sending a huge warning sign to other employers across the city, state, and nation that freelance work deserves pay.”

“New York City will always support workers’ rights, especially for our freelancers who often don’t have access to as many benefits as full-time employees,” said Mayor Adams. “We will not tolerate companies that fail to pay freelance workers what they’re owed. Under this agreement, we will ensure the 41 freelancers who worked for L’Officiel get the money to which they’re entitled and ensure these violations do not happen again. Let this serve as a lesson: If you try to take freelance workers for a ride, we will hold you accountable. I urge any freelancer not properly paid by L’Officiel for their work to file a claim as quickly as possible.”

The NYC Freelance Isn't Free Act, enacted in May 2017, is the first law of its kind in the country, granting freelance workers the right to a written contract, prompt payment, and protection against retaliation. The law introduced a court navigation program to assist freelancers in securing payment and accessing resources. It also empowers the city to initiate legal action against individuals or businesses that demonstrate a pattern of violating the law.

Since 2017, DCWP has received nearly 2,800 complaints from freelancers alleging violations of the Freelance Isn't Free Act and has assisted in recovering almost $3 million in owed compensation for freelancers. If you have a nonpayment issue or question, send us an email via!

We want to thank the DCWP and the City of New York for their support of this legislation and for taking action to protect freelancers from unfair labor practices and nonpayment. Freelance workers can visit the DCWP's worker rights page or call 311 and request information on 'freelance workers' for comprehensive details regarding the Freelance Isn't Free Act. Information in multiple languages (Spanish, Bengali, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Korean, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Tagalog, and Urdu), as well as resources for hiring parties, a model contract, complaint form, FAQs, and a Navigation Program Guide, are available on the DCWP's worker rights page.

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