California bill aims to stop sexual harassment at farming jobs

| May 30, 2014 | Sexual Harassment |

Sexual harassment is a serious crime, and if you’ve been harassed while doing your job, you should have protection against it. If you find that your employer doesn’t stop this harassment, you may be able to seek compensation and justice through other means. This news from May 22 reports that a new bill in California would impose sanction for sexually harassing farm workers.

Female farm workers are not uncommon in California. Some of them allegedly endure sexual assault or sexual harassment, and the article reports that more often than not, the person causing the issue is a crew boss who has the power to fire the women. Sometimes, that boss may threaten to fire the woman if she speaks up, and that leads to women not seeking the help they deserve.

According to the news, a new bill called SB1087 would crack down on employers. It focuses on farm labor contractors, who usually hire for jobs like picking strawberries, packing lettuce or other jobs. Now, the bill would provide the ability for the state labor commissioner to revoke a farm labor contractor’s license if a crew supervisor they hire has sexually harassed workers. Following an in-depth report on the problem of sexual harassment and assault for farm workers, state Sen. Bill Monning reportedly moved to introduce this bill.

According to one worker who was interviewed, she was assaulted by her supervisor after being sexually harassed for months. She claims that supervisors are not trained about sexual harassment, despite the fact that they are trained to work with farm safety, pesticides and other important items. The new bill would require training on how to prevent sexual harassment for everyone from employees to the bosses.

Some farming groups say it would be difficult to do the background checks required for this bill. The senator has addressed that and will be filing an amendment to the bill, according to the news. The amendment would require prospective hires to give a disclosure about whether they had previously been convicted of sexual assault or harassment.

Source: KQED, “Bill Would Impose Sanctions for Sexually Harassing Farmworkers” Sasha Khokha, May. 22, 2014

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