Law Offices of Louis Spitters

Challenges for California's domestic workers: part one

When most people think of employment they picture someone sitting in an office, holding a meeting or driving to sales calls. Many work outside of the home and face similar employment issues. However, a different employment landscape exists for one group of employees whose voices have long gone unheard.

Domestic workers, such as housekeepers and nannies, perform essential duties like taking care of children, maintaining homes and caring for the elderly or disabled. And even though the work they do is of the utmost importance, they miss out on a lot of benefits afforded to other employees. For example, about 67 percent of these workers in California are paid less than the state's minimum wage.

In addition, 65 percent of them do not have health insurance, a difficulty that is compounded by their low pay. And because these employees are often basically sequestered in their employers' houses, they are vulnerable to exploitation and mistreatment.

Because the nature of domestic work is so isolating these concerns are often underreported, ignored or brushed aside. However, these workers play a crucial role in society and the economy, taking care of things at home so their employers can go out and perform their own jobs.

Fortunately, domestic workers across the country are beginning to have their voices heard. Legislation has been proposed in California that would offer these workers many of the basic rights and protections enjoyed by all other employees. We'll talk about the bill in more detail next week.

If you are a domestic worker, such as a housekeeper or nanny, and you believe your rights in the workplace may have been violated, it is important to work with someone who is familiar with state and federal employment law. An experienced attorney can help you review your situation, advise you of your rights and pursue any appropriate legal action.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Domestic Workers Bill in California Brings Housekeepers & Nannies to the Streets," Kathleen Miles, March 7, 2013

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Law Offices of Louis Spitters
96 North 3rd Street
Suite 500
San Jose, CA 95112

Phone: 408-780-1920
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