Domestic Worker Discrimination
Effective November 29, 2010, the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) was amended to provide employment protections to domestic workers. The Domestic Worker Discrimination lawyers at Famighetti & Weinick PLLC are experienced in representing domestic workers who have suffered all types of discrimination, harassment, and other labor violations.
Which workers qualify as a domestic worker under the NYSHRL? A domestic worker is someone who works in another person's home, and whose job includes caring for children or a sick or elderly person, doing housekeeping chores, or performing other duties in the employer's homes. Domestic workers who only work on a part-time or casual basis are not covered under the NYSHRL. Moreover, domestic workers who are related to their employer are not protected by the relevant provisions of the NYSHRL.
If you qualify as a domestic worker, New York State laws provide protections that fall into three general categories: 1) freedom from harassment based on gender, race, religion, or national origin; 2) freedom from retaliation for complaining of harassment; and 3) guaranteed wages, overtime pay, and vacation days. Each of these categories will be more fully explored in turn, below.
First, under the NYSHRL and New York State labor laws, domestic workers are protected from certain forms of harassment by an employer, including verbal and physical conduct based on the domestic worker's gender, race, religion, or national origin. This includes comments and conduct of a sexual nature, in any form. Harassment also consists of intimidating and hostile conduct, as well as jokes or demeaning comments about a domestic worker's gender, race, religion, or national origin. The New York State Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR) is the agency tasked with enforcing these protections afforded domestic workers. A domestic worker who has been subjected to such conduct by an employer may file a complaint with the NYSDHR. They will then investigate the allegations made in the complaint and determine if there has been a violation of the NYSHRL.
Next, the law protects domestic workers from retaliation by an employer. Retaliation occurs when an employer takes some type of adverse employment action against a domestic worker be it in the form of a reduction of hours, a reduction of benefits or pay, or even termination of employment, as a result of the worker filing a complaint of harassment with the NYSDHR. If an employer does retaliate against the domestic worker employee, the domestic worker may amend his or her complaint, or file a new complaint, alleging retaliation.
Finally, in addition to the right to be free from harassment and retaliation, domestic workers have certain rights regarding compensation and time off under New York State labor laws. These rights include the right to: 1) be paid at least minimum wage; 2) receive overtime pay at 1.5 times the basic rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a calendar week; 3) receive at least three paid days off after one year of work for the same employer; and 4) be given one day of rest per week, or be paid at an overtime rate if the domestic worker agrees to work on that mandatory day of rest.It is important to note that the above laws protect you whether you are a U.S. citizen or not, and the protections afforded by these laws cover legal permanent residents, immigrants with some other lawful status, and undocumented workers.
The Long Island domestic worker discrimination law firm of Famighetti & Weinick PLLC is experienced in handling all types of cases involving Domestic Worker Discrimination. Whether your case involves sexual harassment, harassment based on gender, race, religion, or national origin, retaliation for filing a complaint with the NYSDHR, or an employer's failure to pay wages and overtime, or offer vacation days and other required benefits, our attorneys are able and qualified to represent your best interests. If you have any questions about Domestic Worker Discrimination, do not hesitate to contact the employment attorneys at Famighetti & Weinick PLLC today. Our Long Island office is located in Melville, New York.