Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB1122
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Full Text of HB1122  103rd General Assembly




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1    AN ACT concerning employment.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Freelance Worker Protection Act.
6    Section 5. Definitions. As used in this Act:
7    "Construction" has the meaning set forth in Section 5 of
8the Employee Classification Act.
9    "Department" means the Department of Labor.
10    "Director" means the Director of Labor or the Director's
12    "Freelance worker" means a natural person who is hired or
13retained as an independent contractor by a contracting entity
14to provide products or services in Illinois or for a
15contracting entity located in Illinois in exchange for an
16amount equal to or greater than $500, either in a single
17contract or when aggregated with all contracts for products or
18services between the same contracting entity and the freelance
19worker during the immediately preceding 120 days. "Freelance
20worker" does not include an individual performing construction
21services, an individual performing services as an employee
22under Section 10 of the Employee Classification Act, or an
23employee as defined in Section 2 of the Illinois Wage Payment



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1and Collection Act.
2    "Contracting entity" means any person who retains a
3freelance worker to provide any service, other than:
4        (1) the United States government;
5        (2) the State of Illinois;
6        (3) a unit of local government, including school
7    districts; or
8        (4) any foreign government.
9    "Natural person" means an individual human being.
10    "Person" means any natural person, individual,
11corporation, business enterprise or other legal entity, either
12public or private, and any legal successor, representative,
13agent or agency of that individual, corporation, business
14enterprise, or legal entity.
15    Section 10. Payment of compensation for freelance workers.
16    (a) Except as otherwise provided by law, a freelance
17worker shall be paid the contracted compensation amount on or
18before the date the compensation is due under the terms of the
19contract. If the contract does not specify when the hiring
20party must pay the contracted compensation or the mechanism by
21which the date will be determined, compensation shall be due
22no later than 30 days after the completion of the freelance
23worker's services under the contract.
24    (b) Once a freelance worker has commenced preparation of
25the product or performance of the services under the contract,



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1the contracting entity shall not require as a condition of
2timely payment that the freelance worker accept less
3compensation than the amount of the contracted compensation.
4    Section 15. Contract for products and services of
5freelance workers.
6    (a) Whenever a contracting entity retains a freelance
7worker, the contract for such products or services shall be
8reduced to writing. The contracting entity shall furnish a
9copy of the written contract, either physically or
10electronically, to the freelance worker.
11    (b) The written contract for the product and service of a
12freelance worker shall include, at a minimum, the following
14        (1) the name and contact information of both the
15    contracting entity and the freelance worker, including the
16    mailing address of the contracting entity;
17        (2) an itemization of all products and services to be
18    provided by the freelance worker, the value of the
19    products and services to be provided under the terms of
20    the contract, and the rate and method of compensation;
21        (3) the date on which the contracting entity must pay
22    the contracted compensation or the mechanism by which such
23    date will be determined, which shall be no later than 30
24    days after the products or services are provided; and
25        (4) the date by which a freelance worker must submit a



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1    list of products or services rendered under such contract
2    to the contracting entity, if such a list is required in
3    order to meet any internal processing deadlines of the
4    contracting entity for the purposes of compensation being
5    timely rendered by the agreed-upon date as stipulated in
6    paragraph (3).
7    (c) The contracting entity shall retain the contract for
8the service of a freelance worker for no less than 2 years and
9shall make such contract available to the Department upon
11    (d) The Department shall make available model contracts on
12its website for use by the general public at no cost. Such
13model contracts shall be made available in English and in the 8
14languages most commonly spoken by limited English proficient
15individuals in the State.
16    Section 20. Nondiscrimination. No contracting entity shall
17threaten, intimidate, discipline, harass, deny a freelance
18opportunity to, or take any other action that penalizes a
19freelance worker for, or is reasonably likely to deter a
20freelance worker from, exercising or attempting to exercise
21any right guaranteed by this Act, or from obtaining any future
22work opportunity because the freelance worker has done so.
23    Section 25. Complaint procedure.
24    (a) A freelance worker may file a complaint with the



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1Department alleging a violation of the Act by submitting a
2completed form, provided by the Department, and by submitting
3copies of all supporting documentation. The Department is
4authorized to request or require any information the Director
5deems relevant to the complaint or to its reporting
6requirements under Section 50, including, but not limited to:
7        (1) the general sector or occupation of the freelance
8    worker submitting a claim under this Act;
9        (2) the county where the work by the freelance work
10    was performed, if in Illinois; and
11        (3) at the discretion of the freelance worker, the
12    demographic data of the freelance worker submitting a
13    claim under this Act.
14    (b) Complaints alleging violation of Section 10, 15, or 20
15shall be filed within 2 years after the date the final
16compensation was due. Complaints shall be reviewed by the
17Department to determine whether there is cause for the
18Department to initiate the process of facilitating the
19exchange of information between the parties. The Department is
20not required to initiate an information facilitation process
21if either party to the contract has initiated a civil action in
22a court of competent jurisdiction alleging a violation of this
23chapter or a breach of contract arising out of the contract
24that is the subject of the complaint filed under this Act,
25unless such civil action has been dismissed without prejudice
26to future claims; or either party to the contract has filed a



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1claim or complaint before any administrative agency under any
2local, State, or federal law alleging a breach of contract
3that is the subject of the complaint filed under this Act,
4unless the administrative claim or complaint has been
5withdrawn or dismissed without prejudice to future claims.
6Failure of a contracting entity to keep adequate records or
7provide written contract as required by this Act shall not
8operate as a bar to a freelance worker filing a complaint.
9    (c) Each freelance worker who files a completed complaint
10alleging a violation of this Act or a rule adopted thereunder
11shall be provided with a written description of the
12anticipated processing of the complaint, including
13notification to the contracting entity and the contracting
14entity's opportunity to respond.
15    (d) The Department shall, within 20 days of receiving a
16complaint alleging a violation of this Act, initiate the
17information facilitation process by sending the contracting
18entity named in the complaint a written notice of the
19complaint, or by notifying the freelance worker that the
20Department lacks jurisdiction to initiate such process. When
21the Department initiates this process, the notice of complaint
22shall: (i) inform the contracting entity that a complaint has
23been filed alleging a violation of this Act; (ii) detail the
24civil remedies available to a freelance worker for violations
25of this Act by a contracting entity; (iii) include a copy of
26the complaint; and (iv) state that failure to respond to the



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1complaint by the deadline established in paragraph (1) of
2subsection (e) creates a rebuttable presumption in any civil
3action commenced in accordance with this Act that the
4contracting entity committed the violations alleged in the
5complaint. The Department shall send such notice by certified
7    (e) Response.
8        (1) Within 20 days of receiving the notice of
9    complaint, the contracting entity identified in the
10    complaint shall send the Director one of the following:
11            (A) For a complaint under Section 10, a written
12        statement that the freelance worker has been paid in
13        full and proof of such payment.
14            (B) For a complaint under Section 10, a written
15        statement that the freelance worker has not been paid
16        in full and the reasons for the failure to provide such
17        payment.
18            (C) For a complaint under Section 15 or 20, a
19        defense against the alleged violation.
20        (2) If the contracting entity identified in the
21    complaint does not respond to the notice within 20 days,
22    such failure to respond creates a rebuttable presumption
23    in any civil action commenced in accordance with this Act
24    that the contracting entity committed the violations
25    alleged in the complaint. Within 20 days of receiving a
26    written response, the Director shall send the freelance



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1    worker a copy of:
2            (A) the contracting entity's response;
3            (B) any enclosures submitted with the response;
4            (C) materials informing the freelance worker about
5        the freelance worker's right to bring an action in a
6        court of competent jurisdiction; and
7            (D) any other information about the status of the
8        complaint.
9        (3) If the director receives no response to the notice
10    of complaint within the time provided by subsection (a),
11    the Director shall mail a notice of non-response to both
12    the freelance worker and the contracting entity by regular
13    mail and shall include with such notice proof that the
14    Director previously mailed the notice of complaint to the
15    contracting entity by certified mail. Upon satisfying the
16    requirements of this paragraph, the Director may close the
17    case.
18    (f) Attorney General powers.
19        (1) Whenever the Attorney General has reasonable cause
20    to believe that any person or entity is engaged in a
21    pattern and practice prohibited by this Act, the Attorney
22    General may initiate or intervene in a civil action in the
23    name of the People of the State of Illinois in any
24    appropriate court to obtain appropriate relief.
25        (2) Before initiating an action, the Attorney General
26    may conduct an investigation and may:



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1            (A) require an individual or entity to file a
2        statement or report in writing under oath or
3        otherwise, as to all information the Attorney General
4        may consider necessary;
5            (B) examine under oath any person alleged to have
6        participated in or with knowledge of the alleged
7        violation; or
8            (C) issue subpoenas or conduct hearings in aid of
9        any investigation.
10        (3) Service by the Attorney General of any notice
11    requiring a person or entity to file a statement or
12    report, or of a subpoena upon any person or entity, shall
13    be made:
14            (A) personally by delivery of a duly executed copy
15        thereof to the person to be served or, if a person is
16        not a natural person, in the manner provided in the
17        Code of Civil Procedure when a complaint is filed; or
18            (B) by mailing by certified mail a duly executed
19        copy thereof to the person to be served at the person's
20        last known abode or principal place of business within
21        this State or, if a person is not a natural person, in
22        the manner provided in the Code of Civil Procedure
23        when a complaint is filed.
24        The Attorney General may compel compliance with
25    investigative demands under this Section through an order
26    by any court of competent jurisdiction.



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1        (4)(A) In an action brought under this Act, the
2    Attorney General may obtain, as a remedy, monetary damages
3    to the State, restitution, and equitable relief, including
4    any permanent or preliminary injunction, temporary
5    restraining order, or other order, including an order
6    enjoining the defendant from engaging in a violation, or
7    order any action as may be appropriate. In addition, the
8    Attorney General may request and the court may impose a
9    civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for each violation or
10    $10,000 for each repeat violation within a 5-year period.
11    For purposes of this Section, each violation of this Act
12    for each person who was subject to an agreement in
13    violation of this Act shall constitute a separate and
14    distinct violation.
15        (B) A civil penalty imposed under this subsection
16    shall be deposited into the Attorney General Court Ordered
17    and Voluntary Compliance Payment Projects Fund. Moneys in
18    the Fund shall be used, subject to appropriation, for the
19    performance of any function pertaining to the exercise of
20    the duties of the Attorney General, including, but not
21    limited to, enforcement of any law of this State and
22    conducting public education programs; however, any moneys
23    in the Fund that are required by the court or by an
24    agreement to be used for a particular purpose shall be
25    used for that purpose.
26    (g) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prevent any



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1freelance worker from making complaint or prosecuting his or
2her own claim for compensation. Any freelance worker aggrieved
3by a violation of this Act or any rule adopted under this Act
4may file suit in circuit court of Illinois, in the county where
5the alleged violation occurred or where any freelance worker
6who is party to the action resides, without regard to
7exhaustion of any alternative administrative remedies provided
8in this Act. Actions may be brought by one or more freelance
9workers for and on behalf of themselves and other freelance
10workers similarly situated.
11    (h) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the
12authority of the State's Attorney of any county to prosecute
13actions for violation of this Act or to enforce the provisions
14thereof independently and without specific direction of the
16    Section 30. Civil enforcement.
17    (a) Any freelance worker not timely paid final
18compensation by a contracting entity as required by Section 10
19shall be entitled to recover through civil action double the
20amount of any such underpayments, injunctive relief, and other
21such remedies as may be appropriate. In a civil action for
22violation of Section 10, such freelance worker shall also be
23entitled to recover costs and all reasonable attorney's fees.
24A civil complaint alleging violation of Section 10 shall be
25filed within 2 years after the date the final compensation was



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2    (b) Any freelance worker who was retained in violation of
3paragraphs (a) or (b) of Section 15 despite the freelance
4worker's request for a written contract prior to commencing
5the contracted work as required by Section 15 shall be
6entitled to recover through a civil action statutory damages
7of $500. A freelance worker who prevails on a claim alleging
8violation of Section 15 and on one or more claims under other
9Sections shall be awarded statutory damages equal to the value
10of the underlying contract or $500, whichever is greater, in
11addition to the other remedies provided. Civil complaints
12alleging violation of Section 15 shall be filed within 2 years
13after the date the final compensation was due.
14    (c) Any freelance worker who is threatened, intimidated,
15disciplined, harassed, denied a freelance opportunity, or
16penalized by a contracting entity in violation of Section 20
17shall be entitled to recover through a civil action statutory
18damages equal to the value of the underlying contract for each
19violation of Section 20. In a civil action for violation of
20Section 20, such freelance worker shall also recover costs and
21all reasonable attorney's fees.
22    Section 35. Public policy and intent.
23    (a) The provisions of this Act shall apply only to
24contracts taking effect after the effective date of this Act.
25    (b) Except as otherwise provided by law, any provision of



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1a contract purporting to waive rights under this Act is void as
2against public policy.
3    (c) The provisions of this Act are intended to supplement,
4and do not diminish or replace, any other basis of liability,
5remedy, or requirement established by statute or common law.
6    (d) Failure to comply with this Section does not render
7any contract between a contracting entity and a freelance
8worker void in total, voidable, or otherwise impair any
9obligation, claim, or right related to the contract, nor does
10it constitute a defense to any action or proceeding to
11enforce, or for breach of, such contract.
12    (e) No provision of this Act relating to freelance workers
13shall be construed as providing a determination about the
14legal classification of any such worker as an employee or
15independent contractor.
16    Section 40. Public awareness. Subject to appropriation,
17the Department may conduct a public awareness campaign
18regarding this Act that, at a minimum, includes making
19information available on its website, otherwise informing
20contracting entities of the provisions of this Act, and
21establishing a means for assistance by a natural person
22through phone or email.
23    Section 45. Reports. One year after the effective date of
24this Act, and by November 1 every 5 years thereafter, the



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1Department shall submit to the General Assembly and publish on
2its website a report regarding freelance contracting and
3payment practices. The report shall include, but is not
4limited to:
5        (1) the number of complaints received by the
6    Department under this Act;
7        (2) the value of the contracts disaggregated into
8    ranges of $500 and by the Section of this Act the
9    associated contracting entity is alleged to have violated;
10        (3) the numbers of responses and non-responses
11    received from contracting entities by the Department
12    disaggregated by contract value into ranges of $500 and by
13    the Section of this Act the associated contracting entity
14    is alleged to have violated;
15        (4) the general sector or occupation of the freelance
16    workers submitting claims in accordance with this Act;
17        (5) the counties where violations of this Act are
18    alleged to have occurred, if in Illinois, including the
19    number of violations from each county, identified by the
20    county where the work was performed;
21        (6) to the extent available, demographic data of the
22    freelance workers who have alleged violations of this Act;
23    and
24        (7) legislative recommendations as the Director deems
25    appropriate, which may include consideration of whether
26    certain occupations should be exempted from the scope of



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1    the definition of freelance worker.
2    Section 50. Coordination. The Department is authorized to
3coordinate efforts under this Act with other agencies and
4combine complaints under this Act with claims under other
6    Section 55. Rulemaking. The Director, or the Director's
7authorized representatives, shall administer the provisions of
8this Act. In order to accomplish the objectives of this Act and
9to carry out the duties prescribed by this Act, the Director,
10or the Director's authorized representative, may adopt rules
11necessary to administer and enforce the provisions of this
13    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect July 1,