Rights Begin at Home: Defending Domestic Workers’ Rights in California

Source: National Employment Law Project, March 01, 2009

The purpose of this handbook is to help worker and women’s advocates and organizers defend domestic workers rights within the context of existing employment laws and to highlight where there is a need to change inadequate and unfair laws. Our hope is that this guide will inspire you to outreach to and educate domestic workers and to help them defend the rights they have and gain the rights they deserve. While the laws do not reflect the full extent of the rights domestic workers ought to have, they do give workers some protection, regardless of their immigration status. The information in this handbook is based on the laws that apply in California. Some of this information can be easily shared with domestic workers themselves.

Despite the limitations of the law, community organizations have used creative and innovative strategies in advocating for greater protections for domestic workers. Some of these strategies are discussed throughout the guide. Through enforcement of existing legal rights and organizing for more protections, we can improve working conditions for all domestic workers and combat the racism, sexism, and worker exploitation that create deplorable conditions.

The California Coalition for Household Worker Rights will be working to pass a domestic worker rights bill through the California legislature in 2010. Contact any of the Coalition members to get involved or lend your support. See Appendix D for a list of Coalition members.
See also:
Rights Begin at Home: Defending Domestic Workers’ Rights in Illinois

Coming soon:
Rights Begin at Home for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

Leave a Reply