Companies often mislabel employees as “freelancers” to cut costs. Workers are fighting back.

Originally Published on

The difference between a freelancer, independent contractor, and employee, explained.

A woman at a coworking space in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2017.
 Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

An editor at Epicurious seemed super excited last week when he announced “an amazing job” opportunity for a food writer on Twitter.

Except that the details of the “full-time freelance” job he described — being paid hourly for 40 hours a week with zero benefits — didn’t seem so amazing. In fact, the setup sounded illegal.

So did the details of another recent job opening on Medium, which sought writers to work full-time hours but as independent contractors.

Both job postings prompted viral outrage from journalists on Twitter, who accused hiring managers of trying to misclassify employees as contractors to avoid paying taxes and benefits.


David Tamarkin


Paid hourly at 40 hrs/week, no benefits.

Kyle Neubeck


ahh, so “full time freelance” just means “illegal” then

[10:02] AM – Mar 13, 2019
Journalists reported both job postings to the New York Department of Labor; the agency now says it’s investigating the Epicurious job posting. It’s unclear if the agency is also looking into the Medium posting.




Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1400 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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