YEO Policy Books 2015 Policy Book - Page 64

Combating Worker Exploitation Origin: New York’s Office of the Governor Bill Name/Number: Task Force to Combat Worker Exploitation Link: Click here Summary: In the fall 2015, Gov. Cuomo created the Exploited Workers Fast Force in partnership with an Advisory Committee of business, consumer, and worker advocates to identify patterns of abuse and enforce worker antiexploitation laws. Talking Points & Important Information: • Workers, especially those in the on-demand, informal, or services economies, are often victimized through wage theft, human trafficking, retaliation, unsafe or unsanitary working conditions, unstable or unscheduled hours, and illegal deductions for supplies, training, or uniforms. • In the U.S., 1 in 6 workers is foreign-born, a demographic far likelier to enter service occupations than nativeborn workers. They are likelier to silently suffer an unscrupulous employer’s treatment due to threats of severe retaliation, whether it be jeopardizing the worker’s visa or threatening deportation. • Due to anti-exploitation legislation passed by the state legislature and signed into law in July 2015, the NY Department of State has the authority to shut down a business performing unlicensed or uninsured activities and impose financial penalties at higher levels than were previously permitted. The legislation intentionally protects workers, such as nail salon practitioners, who are unaware of their employer’s mismanagement and provides them the opportunity to register with the state as trainees, allowing them to continue working while they study toward licensing. • Gov. Cuomo is expanding upon the purview of this bill and brought together public and private stakeholders and government agencies interested in rooting out worker exploitation in multiple industries, including: farming, childcare, cleaning, home health care, laundry, restaurants, retail, construction, landscaping, car washes, supermarkets, janitorial services, and truck and waste disposal drivers. 2015 POLICY BOOK STATE LEVEL PAGE 64