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New York City Lawyers for Domestic Workers’ Rights

Domestic workers have the right to be free from workplace discrimination.

Domestic workers have long been subject to unfair working conditions, at the mercy of the families for which they work. However, the New York City Human Rights Law has been amended. As of March 12, 2022, it will provide the same legal protections to domestic workers against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation based on protected characteristics that other types of employees in the city have. Changes in the city law also require employers to provide disabled domestic workers with reasonable accommodations when doing so doesn’t present an undue hardship. If you are a domestic worker who is discriminated against or harassed due to a protected trait such as race, sex, national origin, disability, or religion, you should call the seasoned New York City employment discrimination lawyers of Phillips & Associates.

Attorneys to Fight for Domestic Workers

Domestic workers now covered by the New York City Human Rights Law include nannies, housecleaners, home care workers, and others that work to provide companionship, childcare, eldercare, or housekeeping in the city. While the law doesn’t protect those who work only once in a while, or those who are related to their household employer or the person who is being cared for, most domestic workers who are employed on a full-time or part-time basis are entitled to the same protections workers in offices and factories receive.

Rights of Domestic Workers

The New York City Human Rights Law protects against employment discrimination based on a wide range of protected characteristics, including race, national origin, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. Employment discrimination can include any adverse employment action taken because a worker has a protected characteristic.

Accordingly, our attorneys may be able to pursue claims on your behalf if you are a domestic worker who is fired, paid differently or otherwise treated adversely in a term or condition of their employment because of traits such as your race or national origin. Employers cannot express discriminatory preferences or restrictions in their job advertisements for domestic workers. This means, for example, families seeking to hire nannies that can impart their language or culture cannot specify that job applicants should be of a specific national origin in their job advertisement, as this would be national origin discrimination. Rather, they would need to tailor the language to focus on job skills they’d like the nanny to have, such as the ability to cook a particular cuisine or converse in a specific language.

Once you’re on the job as a domestic worker, you are entitled to work in a place that is free from illegal harassment, including sexual or racial harassment, based on characteristics protected under the city law. You should not be threatened by a household employer who wants you to work in unequal or illegal conditions. For example, our attorneys may be able to pursue your claim if your employer mocks your accent, sexually harasses you, and threatens to call immigration authorities when you complain about sexual harassment.

Under the city law, a prospective employer can run a limited background check to get information about your references, education, and criminal convictions, but they aren’t entitled to ask about your salary or credit history while hiring. In keeping with a prohibition against criminal conviction discrimination, they can’t ask about your prior arrests, sealed convictions, or any youthful offender adjudication.


Retaliation is prohibited under the New York City Human Rights Law. That means your employer should not try to penalize you for complaining in good faith about illegal discrimination or harassment or for requesting a reasonable accommodation.

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations are shifts in how things are typically done in a workplace, including changes to job duties or schedules that would allow a domestic worker to perform essential job functions. Like other types of employees, domestic workers are now entitled to request a reasonable accommodation for their pregnancies, disabilities, or religious practices. Employers are supposed to provide reasonable accommodations to domestic workers unless doing so would pose an undue hardship. Failure to do so is a form of discrimination.

Consult a Seasoned Employment Discrimination Firm

The New York City employment discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates may be able to represent you if you are a domestic worker who has faced workplace discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, Nassau County, or Suffolk County. Call us at (833) 529-3476 or complete our online form. Our firm represents workers on a contingency fee basis. We offer free consultations.

What Our Clients Say?
"Phillips & Associates did a wonderful job. I would recommend Brittany Stevens." Angel
"Employment dispute I had a dispute with my former employer, Jesse Weinstein was patient and thorough with my case. He covered every angle and was able to help me with my dispute. I would recommend Jesse Weinstein and Phillips and Associates in the future to anyone." Margaret
"Hands down the best law firm for labor disputes in NYC. Being in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years I can say that this law firm is the number one choice for workers in the restaurant business that need to sue their company for wrongful termination. A special compliment to my lawyer Brittany Stevens. An amazing person and well prepared experienced lawyer. She was professional and empathetic to my case and worked in a time appropriate manner. She never miss a phone call at any hour of the day. Brittany and her team helped me with what I needed, when I needed it. I want to thank them all (especially Brittany), for a job well done." Massimo
"Jesse Weinstein handled my discrimination case. He was extremely patient and understanding throughout the process and remained professional and consistent even when I could not. I really felt like he had my back and I didn't have to worry. His expertise, combined with the experience of the Firm, resulted in the best possible outcome of my case. Although I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone, things do and always will happen and I would highly recommend Jesse and this Firm to anyone facing discrimination or other workplace issues." Karen
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