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California moves to protect farmworkers from sexual harassment

No one should have to endure sexual abuse or harassment in any area of their life and the workplace is no exception.  Unfortunately, all too many employees are subjected to inappropriate comments, requests and even physical abuse.  To make things worse, many fear that reporting this unacceptable behavior may cost them their jobs.  However, after a 2013 report highlighting sexual harassment of farm workers in the state, California has moved to combat this concerning issue.

The move centers around a bill signed by the state's governor. This bill enforces mandatory training on the subject of sexual harassment for just about all people connected with farm labor. Furthermore, it targets those contractors and supervisors who are responsible for committing acts of sexual harassment. Not only is the training intended to prevent people from carrying out harassment, it also aims to make people more aware of the options available to them if they suffer from harassment.

Under the new legislation, anyone the court or another administrative process found to have sexually harassed someone would be barred from obtaining a license as a labor contractor. This ban would last for three years. The legislation also places responsibility on contractors who hire such individuals as a supervisory employee despite being aware of their involvement in sexual harassment at any point within the previous three years.

There is still a long way to go, but this is a positive step forward for California's workers. It can be difficult to step forward after suffering from harassment, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. An attorney can listen to the details of your case and help you decide what to do next. Furthermore, he or she may be able to assist you in filing a harassment complaint and pursuing the remuneration and justice you deserve.

Source: KQED, "Brown Signs Bill to Fight Sexual Harassment of California Farmworkers," Dan Brekke, Sept. 29, 2014

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