Female farm workers in states like Indiana have complained about sexual harassment and even assault on the job. The reason why such harassment may be so prevalent is because many of the farm workers are immigrant, and due to their immigration status they may fear calling the authorities.
Such harassment apparently is so well known among these farm workers that many of them perceive it as being an unavoidable aspect of this type of work. There is now a call for Congress to pass legislation that would make it easier for such workers to report this kind of harassment and abuse.
Like so many instances of sexual harassment, these particular circumstances come about because such workers believe they have very little in resources to protect themselves. There is an imbalance of power that makes it convenient for employers to get away with what otherwise would be considered unlawful behavior.
Sadly, this problem may extend to other fields of work as well in industries where there are a large number of immigrant workers that have been hired on as employees. As with farm workers, such immigrant workers may think that they have nowhere to turn for assistance. However, for such workers there are attorneys that will listen to their stories, and will take their individual concerns into consideration.
Approximately 630,000 of the three million people performing such farm work are women. It has been estimated that as many as 60 percent of these farm workers are illegal immigrants, and such workers fear deportation or other criminal penalties. At the same time, they are dependent upon their jobs to feed their families.
Source: WBTV, “Report says female farm-workers suffer sex abuse,” by Tracie Cone, May 16, 2012