Finding: The State Department, in most cases, requires that employment contracts, setting forth certain terms and conditions, be signed between migrant domestic workers and their employers, but workers often do not receive copies of their contracts and myriad obstacles prevent or impede them from independently enforcing their contracts.
Recommendation: Employment requirements for migrant domestic workers should be binding legal provisions set forth in U.S. statutory law, and the Department of Labor should be given explicit authority and the necessary resources to enforce and monitor compliance with these requirements.
Recommendation: Congress should pass legislation allowing migrant domestic workers whose employers are physically, sexually, or psychologically abusive or who commit other violations of U.S. law or legal standards within the employment relationships, including breach of contract, to transfer their visas to work as domestic workers for new employers. The new employers should be qualified under immigration law to employ domestic workers with special visas, and workers should have until their initial admission periods expire to make the transfer.
Finding: Workers' ability to pursue legal redress against former employers for contract violations or human rights abuses is limited because they may not be allowed to remain in the United States to do so and may not be allowed to work legally during that time.
Recommendation: Congress should pass legislation creating temporary visas that allow a migrant domestic worker with a special visa who has left her employer, lost legal immigration status, and filed a civil or criminal complaint against her former employer, to remain in the United States as long as necessary to pursue legal redress and to work during that time.
Finding: Important U.S. labor and employment laws exempt live-in domestic workers from their protections, either de facto or de jure.
Recommendation: Congress should amend the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime protections, the National Labor Relations Act, and Title VII sexual harassment protections to cover live-in domestic workers, and the Department of Labor should repeal its regulation excluding live-in domestic workers from the Occupational Safety and Health Act.