Appellate Division Affirms Legal Aid Client Photographer And Co-worker Were NY Post Employees Not Independent Contractors
THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014

Today, the Appellate Division, Third Department affirmed rulings that Legal Aid client photographer Catherine Nance and her co-worker, Brian Price, were employees of the New York Post and not independent contractors, as the Post had claimed. Both worked for the Post for years as photographers and sought unemployment benefits after they were let go, even though they had signed freelance agreements with the Post.

The court cites a number of factors in support of its decision in favor of Ms. Nance, including that Ms. Nance was given a set schedule to work, that she had to call in at the beginning and end of her assignments, that the Post set her daily pay rate, that she was given specific instructions for her assignments and the Post specified what type of lens she was to use and the quantity and selection of photographs that she was to submit. The Post also circumscribed the copyright it allowed her to retain, precluding her from granting rights to her work to other area newspapers without prior Post approval. The decision continues a long line of cases recognizing the reality of work relationships over form or labels in determining whether or not a worker is an employee and therefore entitled to unemployment insurance benefits.