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Unethical businesses will have to reckon with independents

As a result of our government neither understanding nor respecting 1099 and small W9 businesses, there are few rights freelancers have from an employment standpoint. That’s a problem.

I don’t expect our government to catch up in 2021 to ensure employment laws are also made for independents, but I do expect independents’ voices to be amplified in 2021. 

No longer will businesses be able to freely discriminate against who they hire and how much they pay folks, or terminate a contract without ethically paying severance. Or decide to not pay an independent because they don’t feel like it. There has to be repercussions for unethical behavior, and if the laws won’t do it for us, our voices amplified on social, in the media, and in our networks will. 

The rise of networks that enable independents to connect will empower them to call out businesses who don’t deserve their fellow consultants’ time. Those businesses will lose out on the best talent thanks to independents coming together to collaborate rather than compete against one another.

Small businesses tend to get away with being “too small to prioritize diversity, equity & inclusion.”

Tools that help reduce unconscious bias in hiring and promotions processes are traditionally made for companies with 100+ employees. 

2020 set the foundation for forcing small business owners to look at themselves in the mirror and confront their unethical practices and lack of focus on DE&I, and 2021 will be the year to normalize putting diversity at the core of every business strategy. 

At the end of the day, a diverse team and inclusive environment is a smart business decision, because diverse teams create better work. Boards won’t be able to look the other way moving forward, and I expect there will be many new tools on the market supporting small teams to make sure they’re receiving inclusion training, following best practices, and consistently educating themselves to be better teammates, managers, and colleagues.

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Claire Humphreys
Claire Humphreys

For the past 4 years Claire had run marketing, sales, CX and customer management at Wethos - and now oversees our full company operations. Previously from the ad world, Claire and Rachel met working together at Havas Worldwide (on Hershey consuming far too much chocolate), and spent a few years at 360i working on Toyota’s CSR initiatives. Fun fact: she bartended in the East Village while bootstrapping Wethos so they could pitch clients and investors during the day. So yes, she makes a mean gin & tonic (tough, right?). Claire moved from NYC out to Montauk NY last year and is now learning how to surf, grow her first garden, and raise a puppy named Pluto!