You are a “domestic worker” if you are employed in a home or residence for the purpose of caring for a child, serving as a companion for a sick, convalescing or elderly person, housekeeping, or for any other domestic service purpose. Domestic workers often labor under harsh conditions, work long hours for low wages with few benefits and little job security, and are isolated in their workplaces. They can be endangered by sexual harassment and assault, as well as verbal, emotional and psychological abuse on the basis of gender, race, religion or national origin.
The New York State Human Rights Law was amended, effective November 29, 2010, to provide protection from workplace harassment for domestic workers. Unlawful harassment includes sexual harassment, as well as harassment on the basis of gender, race, religion or national origin. Domestic workers are also protected from retaliation by their employers for complaining of such harassment.
Sexual harassment can consist of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment occurs when any of the following is true:
Some examples of sexually harassing conduct include:
Harassment consists of actions which have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with your work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. Harassment of domestic workers is in violation of the Human Rights Law when it is:
Here are some other rights that domestic workers have in New York:
You are NOT covered by the Human Rights Law as a domestic worker if you:
If you work for an agency, the laws that apply to you are different from those that apply to someone who works directly for a family. In fact, if you work for an agency, you cannot bring suit for harassment against the family for which you work. However, if the agency has at least four employees, and you are fired or subject to other negative change in your terms of work by the agency because of your race, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, military status, you can bring a claim against the agency under the Human Rights Law.
Furthermore, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and New York State Labor Laws protect you, whether you are:
In other words, these laws cover ALL workers. Immigration status DOES NOT MATTER.
If you believe your rights as a domestic worker have been violated, an employment lawyer at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, is here to help you. Call us or fill out our online contact form to talk to one of an employment law attorney with Cohen & Jaffe. We will respond to you immediately and aggressively pursue justice for you.