For low-wage workers, many obstacles to reporting sexual harassment

Photo credit: The Women and Girls Foundation/Facebook

From The Boston Globe:

by Katie Johnston

One woman’s supervisor told her he’d give her credit for working a shift at a Charlestown bread company if she went home with him instead. When she resisted his advances, he cut her hours, according to a complaint filed with the state.

A Boston-area house cleaner said she was raped by her boss multiple times. He threatened to have her deported if she reported him, her lawyer said.

A Spanish-speaking worker at a Somerville manufacturer said in an interview that her manager scoffed when she said she’d go to the owners if he didn’t stop touching her. He served as her translator. Did she really want to get him in trouble?

The flood of sexual misconduct allegations in recent weeks has come largely from women in white-collar professions, but the problem is thought to be much more prevalent, and hidden, among low-wage workers. These women can’t afford to lose their jobs. Often they don’t speak English and don’t know the procedure for reporting abuse.

Undocumented immigrants fear that if they confront their harassers, they will report the workers to immigration authorities. Under the Trump administration, advocates say, these workers have become even more fearful of speaking up.

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