New York Employment Discrimination Milestone: Gov. Signs “Bill of Rights” for Domestic Employees

Domestic Workers United and the International Labor Organization are celebrating the passage of New York employment discrimination protection for domestic employees (e.g. nannies, housekeepers and caregivers for disabled and elderly patients). State Governor David Paterson recently signed this “Bill of Rights” for domestic workers – which will protect 200,000 + laborers from harassment, abuse, and certain forms of discrimination.

At the signing, Paterson remarked: “I am proud to sign into a law a bill that will end an historic injustice by treating those who care for the elderly, raise our children and clean our homes to the same central rights to which all workers should be entitled.” The bill will go into effect 90 days after the signing, and it will provide protections, such as the following:

• Overtime pay
• One day of rest required per week (minimum)
• Anti-discrimination and harassment protection
• Three days of paid leave annually (minimum)
• Calls for a study to assess whether collective bargaining would help domestic workers to achieve more
Some labor advocates want to push for even more rights, including severance pay as well as access to health benefits and paid vacation. Nevertheless, domestic workers rights advocates like Donna Schneiderman (Jews for Racial and Economic Justice) and Annette Bernhardt (National Employment Law Project) believe the legislation is a huge step in the right direction.

The New York bill may inspire other states to install legal protections for domestic laborers and to establish baseline standards of terms of employment. For instance, in 2011, Californians may debate a similar “domestic workers Bill of Rights” measure. All told, approximately 2.5 million people in the U.S. work in some form of domestic labor capacity.

If you or a loved one has experienced sexual harassment, employer related abuse, discrimination, or retaliation of any kind, learn more about your legal protections and rights. Connect with the lawyers at Joseph & Kirschenbaum, LLP today for a free case evaluation at (212) 688-5640. Or contact the firm via the web at www.jhllp.com. Put an end to unfair practices and bad behavior and get duly compensated for the good work you do.