What is Your Employment Status Preference? Language Professionals & H.R.842

Pixabay image by Robert Jones.
In a previous post we discussed the important role we play in legislative changes that impact us. A recent legislative change in California (AB5) put employment status in the forefront of many language professionals' minds. Changes in how an employee is defined in H.R. 842 has left many interpreters thinking about their personal preferences in relation to employment status. Within our profession and industry, there are differing opinions related to whether interpreters/translators are being properly classified by language service providers, and whether legislation should be so inflexible that it prohibits or limits interpreters/translators who prefer to operate as a sole proprietorship. 

H.R. 842 amends the definition of employee in the National Labor Relations Act by adding...

“An individual performing any service shall be considered an employee (except as provided in the previous sentence) and not an independent contractor, unless—
“(A) the individual is free from control and direction in connection with the performance of the service, both under the contract for the performance of service and in fact;
“(B) the service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer; and
“(C) the individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.”

Remember that this blogger is no legal expert and will not attempt to interpret the law. I will however highlight some of the discussion this definition has sparked in our profession: Is the primary service that language service companies (LSCs) provide within the usual course of business of the interpreter/translator? Do LSCs provide a different service that goes beyond interpreting and translation? Should the interpreters and translators that work with LSCs be considered their employees? Should LSCs offer all interpreters and translators they work with employee benefits? Should all interpreters/translators choosing to provide services to LSCs be forced to engage in employee-employer relationships with them? 

Please share your preferences by completing the survey below. 


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