Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Every day, women throughout California suffer sexual harassment at work. This harassment can take on many different forms, including:

  • Unwanted comments of a sexual nature;
  • Lustful and inappropriate stares;
  • Unwanted touching
  • Taunting and hostility;
  • Verbal abuse
  • Physical violence;
  • Even assault and rape

Farmworker women throughout California are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault and domestic violence due to social, economic, political, language,and cultural barriers.Sexual harassment is a form of torture,and women who feel they have no other choice, suffer in order to bring home a paycheck. The cost of this harassment is extreme. Harassed women frequently feel threatened and battered emotionally,are unable to perform their job responsibilities,and suffer physical and mental injury. For some, the joy of life is lost when they feel trapped in a job they hate,and they are no longer able to sleep or find rest away from work because they know that they have to return to the job the next day. Yet many immigrant farmworker women are afraid to report abuse.Fearful that they’ll be deported, fired or blamed for what happened to them,many agricultural workers don’t tell their spouses or family members about the abuse, let alone their employers or law enforcement.It is important to talk with someone about sexual harassment or abuse. No one should be sexual harassed. Remember,if you have been given unwarranted and unwanted comments, stares or if you have been touched inappropriately, it is not your fault, and it should be reported.If you would like to talk to someone,call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1(800) 656-4673. Someone is available to help you 24 hours a day to listen and provide information to help you get safe. Your phone number is not retained,so the call is anonymous and confidential unless you choose to share personally identifying information.You can also go to a migrant health center. There, trained professionals can help you figure out the best plan to help you escape the abuse.Make an appointment with a doctor at a Migrant Health Center by calling the National Center for Farmworker Health.To locate the nearest center call 1(800)377-9968. The office is staffed by bilingual Information Specialists Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.Pacific Time, and accessible 24 hours a day through an answering service and/or voice messaging. They can also be found online at www.ncfh.org.