L’Officiel to Pay $275,000 to 41 Freelance Workers!

For Immediate Release

Contact: Larry Goldbetter: lgoldbetter@nwu.org


French Fashion Media Company L’Officiel Settles With New York City

July 11th, 2023

NEW YORKThe City of New York City announced today that they have settled a lawsuit against L ’Officiel USA, the American subsidiary of the French-owned global media company that operates several print and digital magazines about fashion, beauty, music, film, literature, culture, politics, lifestyle, and wellness. 

The lawsuit, which was filed by the City’s Law Department in New York County Supreme Court in 2021, alleged that L ’Officiel has engaged in a pattern of failing to pay freelancers on time or at all, including writers, editors, photographers, videographers, graphic designers and illustrators.

The settlement includes 41 freelancers (6 late payments and 35 non-payments) receiving double damages totalling $275K. Further, any freelancer owed money by L’Officiel who was not a part of this settlement has 6 months to file a case with the City and also receive double damages. If that’s you, click here to download the claims form. 

The National Writers Union (NWU) had been representing about a dozen of the freelancers since 2019, while others had filed individual cases with the City’s Department of Consumer and Workers Protection (DCWP) which oversees the Freelance Isn’t Free law. NWU and DCWP worked together to merge the cases. 

“This victory will reverberate around the country. For the first time, freelancers were able to group their non-payment grievances together, and the results speak for themselves with each freelancer receiving double damages. This settlement will be heard loud and clear in Albany and Springfield, IL, where similar bills passed both state legislatures and await both Governors signatures. It will be heard in Los Angeles, where we helped to pass a version of this law which went into effect on July 1. Our deepest appreciation to the NYC Law Dept. for its patience and persistence, and to all the affected freelancers who have patiently watched as this case progressed,” said NWU president, Larry Goldbetter

NYC’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act, the first law of its kind in the country, gives freelance workers the legal right to written contracts, timely payment, and freedom from retaliation. Since becoming law in 2017, hundreds of freelancers have been able to collect close to $3 million in late and unpaid fees. 

In 2022, NWU led the coalition to pass a statewide version of Freelance Isn’t Free in New York. The state law would empower the New York State Labor Department to go after delinquent clients on behalf of both New York’s hundreds of thousands freelance workers and thousands of other freelancers employed by New York-based employers. Freelance Isn’t Free passed both houses of the New York State legislature in both 2022 and 2023.

In December 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul vetoed the bill along with a number of other pro-labor measures which had passed the state legislature. In the wake of this momentous settlement, we again call on Governor Hochul to fix this mistake and enact Freelance Isn’t Free, guaranteeing freelance workers the basic rights that we deserve—rights that our elected representatives have already recognized. 

In May 2023, Illinois passed the Freelance Worker Protection Act, similarly based on NYC’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act. If Governor J.B. Pritzker signs FWPA into law, Illinois will become the first state in the nation to guarantee basic rights for freelancers. The Freelance Isn’t Free law was also the basis of groundbreaking local laws in Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio.