Digging Deeper:

Limited coverage for domestic workers under certain federal employment and civil rights laws



Like most domestic workers, B-1 nonimmigrants often fall outside the scope of critical federal labor, health and safety, and anti-discrimination provisions, including the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime requirement, the entire scope of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) which protects workers’ right to organize and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) which protects health and safety on the job. The NLRA does not cover domestic workers.  Neither does OSHA.122 Due to minimum employee requirements, domestic workers who work in isolation rarely, if ever, would be covered by the Civil Rights Act (which only applies when an employer has 15 or more employees),123  the Americans with Disabilities Act (which only applies when an employer has 15 employees)124 or the Family Medical Leave Act (which only applies when an employer has 50 or more employees).125   

  • 122. 29 U.S.C. § 152(3) (NLRA) (“The term ‘employee’ shall include any employee . . . but shall not include any individual employed . . . in the domestic service of any family or person at his home.”); 29 C.F.R. § 1975.6 (OSHA excludes private employers who hire workers for what are “commonly regarded as ordinary household tasks, such as house cleaning, cooking and caring for children”).
  • 123. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b).
  • 124. 42 U.S.C. § 12111 sec. 5(A).
  • 125. 29 C.F.R. § 552.109(a).