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Photographer Sues ‘The New York Times,’ Claims He Was Discriminated Against
By Izza Sofia, 20 Oct 2017
A veteran freelance photographer sued The New York Times, alleging that he was denied thousands of hours of overtime while misclassified as an independent contractor, denied a staff position because of his age and phased out after he was falsely arrested while on assignment.
“There’s a lot of things that flow out of the employment relationship,” Lee Bantle, a lawyer for Stolarik, explained. “Stolarik might have been eligible for company-sponsored health insurance benefits and contributions to a retirement plan. The Times didn’t contribute on his behalf to a tax bill or Social Security because it considered him a freelancer,” Bantle said.
Robert Stolarik said the editors referred him as a “full-time freelancer” for the Times between 2004 and 2014 but was denied benefits and a regular salary by being misclassified as an independent contractor. He claims he is owed more than $500,000 in unpaid wages and damages.
Stolarik began working for The New York Times in 2000 as a freelance photographer in Colombia, joining the paper’s local news desk in 2004, according to his complaint. Over the next eight years, he generally worked more than 250 days a year and more than 40 hours a week. He also worked about 3,358 overtime hours mostly at a rate of $25 per hour, he said.
He tried several times to be hired as a staff photographer at the newspaper, but was denied because of his age. According to Stolarik, he was removed from consideration for a position in 2006 after telling an editor he was over 30 years old.
On several other occasions, another editor told him he would likely not be hired for a staff position because he was “too old,” he said. He also claims that the company hired several younger, less experienced photographers during his time working there.
Stolarik also alleges that the paper began cutting down on the amount of work it gave him in the wake of him being arrested in 2012 while on assignment in the Bronx. He was charged with obstructing government administration and resisting arrest, but those charges were dropped and the arresting officer indicted for falsifying a record to justify the arrest.
“It’s time for them to put their money where their mouth is,” Bantle said.
Learn more about the case here.
[via PetaPixel, opening image via YouTube]
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