For Immediate Release
Monday, July 31, 2023
NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) hosted an Open House at the Brooklyn Public Library on Saturday, July 29th to help paid care workers understand their rights and the resources available to them, like the City’s Domestic Worker Mediation Program. The Open House was co-hosted by DCWP and the New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and the Carroll Gardens Association. DCWP research has found that more than half of the city’s paid care workforce — the majority of whom are immigrants and women of color — have experienced wage theft, safe and sick leave violations, harassment, discrimination, and fear of retaliation from their employers if they report illegal behavior.
“Paid care workers often lack the support they need to resolve challenges like wage theft or harassment, so it’s crucial we ensure these vulnerable workers know their rights and the resources available to them,” said DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “Thank you to our sister agencies and partner organizations for joining with us to empower more workers to understand their rights and secure fair treatment in their workplaces.”
“Under the New York City Human Rights Law, a private home employing one or more domestic workers is a workplace,” said Commissioner and Chair of CCHR Annabel Palma. “Domestic workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and it’s important that we let them know that their City has their back. Partnering with sibling agencies and community organizations is essential to effective outreach and we are grateful to all partners in the pursuit of equity in the workplace.”
“The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) would like to thank and applaud the efforts of DCWP and all the partnering agencies and organizations for creating an event for domestic workers, by domestic workers to engage with their city, their organizations and each other,” said NDWA NY Director Marrisa Senteno. “In the packed house, domestic workers learned about the City’s Domestic Worker Mediation Program, that is currently underway to help domestic workers and domestic employers resolve workplace issues. NDWA refers workers monthly to the Mediation Program and this open house allowed domestic workers to engage with all those involved in the program. With smiles and enthusiasm domestic workers learned about helpful tips when negotiating their workplace. They also grounded themselves in domestic work industry history. This event will surely have ripple effects throughout the NYC domestic worker community as they share what they learned at the open house.”
“The Paid Care Open House is exactly the type of coordination we need among City agencies, elected officials, and worker centers to ensure we collectively enforce the rights of over 200,000 domestic workers in New York City,” said Carroll Gardens Association Deputy Director Ben Fuller-Googins. “Events like this from the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection show workers that the city has their back. We look forward to further collaboration to not only enforce domestic worker rights but raise standards so that the workers that make all other work possible live with dignity and respect.”
At the Open House, workers learned about the history of domestic workers and key tactics when negotiating work agreements with employers. DCWP provided an overview of worker rights and of the City’s Domestic Worker Mediation Program, which helps domestic workers, and their employers resolve workplace issues in a respectful, confidential, and free way without going to court. New Yorkers can visit nyc.gov/workers for a multilingual overview, or email OLPS@dcwp.nyc.gov or call 311 to make an appointment.
DCWP’s Paid Care Division enforces key worker protections for paid care workers, like the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, investigates and refers complaints to address workplace violations at the local, state, and federal levels. Domestic workers can file a complaint online or call 311 if they believe their rights have been violated. Complaints can be filed anonymously. It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for filing complaints.
The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP)—formerly the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)—protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCWP licenses more than 45,000 businesses in more than 40 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCWP protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance. Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCWP empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCWP also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities. For more information about DCWP and its work, call 311 or visit DCWP at nyc.gov/dcwp or on its social media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Michael Lanza / Stephany Vasquez Sanchez
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection