Eleanor Holmes Norton
Eleanor Holmes Norton (WI file photo)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) recently reintroduced her Protecting Independent Contractors from Discrimination Act to extend the same federal anti-discrimination protections enjoyed by employees to independent contractors.

“Independent contractors, who often do the same work as employees, have almost none of the same protections, including health insurance, collective bargaining, retirement security and even anti-discrimination protection,” Norton said in a statement. “My bill focuses only on discrimination, such as discrimination based on race, age, and gender, from which every worker is entitled to be free.”

Norton also shined a spotlight on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008.

She noted that each of those pieces of legislation guaranteed worker protections and that independent contractors deserve the same.

In a 2005 Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis of the American workforce, approximately 7% of workers were considered independent contractors.

“That number has surely only grown in the 16 years since that analysis with the growth of the so-called ‘gig economy,’” Norton said.

A more recent poll estimates the number at 14%.

“Independent contractors, who often do the same work as employees, have almost none of the same protections, including health insurance, collective bargaining, retirement security and even anti-discrimination,” the congresswoman said. “My bill focuses only on discrimination, such as discrimination based on race, age and gender, from which every worker is entitled to be free. I strongly urge my colleagues to support this legislation.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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