Learn How the Law May Protect Domestic Workers from Sexual Harassment and Employment Discrimination

Are Nannies Protected Against Sexual Harassment at Work?

There is a lot of discussion about the rights of nannies, domestic workers, and childcare providers at work. Many of these employees believe they must put up with sexual harassment and employment discrimination in the workplace. They believe no laws will protect them from inappropriate and otherwise illegal employer behavior.

However, this belief is incorrect. In many cases, both federal laws and state laws may protect nannies from such actions in the workplace. Read on to learn more about legal protections from sexual harassment and discrimination for nannies and domestic workers in their workplace.

What Does the Federal Law Say About Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Against Nannies?

Under federal law, employees are protected against sexual harassment and discrimination in a workplace with 15 or more employees. Therefore, under federal law, unless a family has fifteen or more employees in their home, a nanny or domestic worker would not protect a domestic worker or nanny. Furthermore, childcare providers would only receive protection if they worked in a workplace with 15 or more employees.

However, in some cases, a nanny may actually be employed by a corporation. They may get assigned to a home. As a result, the homeowner or family they work with is a client and their corporation is their employer. Therefore, as long as the employer has at least 15 employees, the nannies are protected from sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

In some cases, the owner of the home hired their nanny under their corporate entity. In these cases, the employer would be the corporate entity and likely include more than 15 employees. Therefore, it would be held accountable for sexual harassment and domestic violence under federal law.

Under federal law, employers would be liable for any sexual harassment or discrimination that occurs, whether it comes from the employer, its customers (the parents of the child), or coworkers. Therefore, if a childcare agency or corporate entity employs a nanny, the nanny would have full rights to fight back against sexual harassment and employment discrimination, even if it comes from the parents of the child under the nanny’s care.

How Can State Laws Protect Domestic Workers from Sexual Harassment and Discrimination at Work?

While federal laws may not protect all domestic workers from sexual harassment and employment discrimination, some states may have laws offering protection. Under some state or municipal laws, employers only need to have one employee to be held liable for sexual harassment and discrimination.

For instance, under New York laws employers with four or more employees must abide by sexual harassment and discrimination laws. Some homes may have four domestic workers, including nannies, housekeepers, and more. Therefore, there may be enough of an argument to state that this home is an employer with at least four employees.

New Jersey Laws Against Discrimination protect all employees, no matter the size of the employer, from sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Therefore, nannies, domestic workers, and childcare providers would receive protection under state law.

The Philadelphia Fair Practice Ordinance also protects all employees within the city limits from sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

Another state law that will protect domestic workers in smaller workplaces is the Fair Employment and Housing Act in California. Under this law, employees in companies with five or more employees would find protection against sexual harassment and discrimination.

Due to the smaller employer sizes included in many of these laws, domestic workers and nannies working for small agencies or under their employer’s corporate umbrella would easily receive protection against sexual harassment and discrimination at work.

What Can Nannies Do to Fight Sexual Harassment and Employment Discrimination?

No matter who sexually harasses a nanny, they have the right to fight back and demand justice. Nannies and other domestic workers are not objects of sexual desire. They are employees that deserve a workplace free from sexual harassment and discrimination.

Therefore, they have the right to demand justice if they experience unwelcome sexual conduct, sexual advances, or physical contact. They can call an experienced sexual harassment and discrimination law firm to help fight back and hold their employer accountable for such behavior.

If you are a nanny and the victim of sexual harassment or discrimination at work, call the sexual harassment and discrimination lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group in New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, or Los Angeles. They can help you fight for justice, even if you work for one person without other employees. Call 800.807.2209 for a free consultation.

About Derek Smith

Attorney Derek T. Smith is an experienced sexual harassment & discrimination law litigator who has particular experience in the areas of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, civil rights litigation, employment law and civil litigation.

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