A freelancer is a person who works independently and is not hired by any specific company. Instead, they may act as an independent contractor, being hired to do specific tasks rather than acting as a hired employee of the company. Freelance work is especially common in areas such as:

  • Writing
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Editing
  • Copywriting
  • Screenwriting
  • Various other employment situations

What are Some Common Freelancer Legal Issues?  

Some common freelancer legal issues include:

  • Disputes over benefits (freelancers are typically not entitled to employment benefits unless specifically provided for in their contract)
  • Issues regarding liability for illegal acts and other violations committed by the freelancer
  • Ownership of the final work product and other intellectual property-type disputes
  • Disputes over compensation
  • Failure by the freelancer to provide original, non-plagiarized work (this is a common issue with freelance writers and freelance writing projects)
  • Legal issues regarding completion of a project (contract performance issues)
  • Various other breach of contract issues

How are Freelancer Lawsuits Resolved?

The basis of a freelance employment arrangement is the contract set forth between the parties. The contract should state the exact terms of employment, payment details, instructions regarding any benefits, ownership of work product, and re-hiring details. In some cases, the contract will also contain details regarding any legal disputes (for instance, whether the parties will submit to alternative dispute resolution methods).
 
Thus, in many cases, a freelancer dispute can be resolved by reviewing the contract to determine what the parties have previously agreed upon. If this is not possible, a lawsuit may be necessary to determine which parties are liable for any losses or legal violations. In such cases, a damages award may result to compensate the non-breaching party for losses. Or, other remedies may result, such as a requirement that the breaching party perform their side of the contract.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Freelancer Legal Issues?

Freelance work is common, but it is also subject to many different legal requirements and laws. You may need to hire an employment law attorney in your area if you need any assistance with freelance work laws. Your lawyer can provide you with legal research for your claim, and can also assist you with any contract matters as needed. If you need to file a lawsuit, your lawyer can represent you in court as well.