There are many difficult issues that farmworkers face on a daily basis, however one that is often ignored and under-reported is that of sexual harassment in the workplace. Victims of sexual harassment often suffer in silence, believing that they have no one to turn to for fear of losing their job. It is even harder to report such abuse when the perpetrator is an employee’s own supervisor.

CRLA client Maricruz Ladino worked for years in different parts of the agricultural industry, and during that time she had experienced multiple episodes of sexual harassment on the job. However, when the harassment escalated into assault she could no longer stay silent. Ms. Ladino had enough and reported the harassment that she was experiencing from her then supervisor. Her reporting resulted in termination of her employment. This caused her to reach out to attorney Michael Marsh at the CRLA office in Salinas.

"It is the strength of people like Ms. Ladino that will change the culture of the agricultural industry, which for too long has turned a blind eye to harassment. Ms. Ladino is an inspiration to victims of harassment, demonstrating that they do not have to suffer in silence."

She spoke with Mr. Marsh who reviewed her case and then filed suit against Ms. Ladino's former employer for the harassment she suffered, the hostile environment that she worked in, and their failure to prevent the harassment and discrimination. This lawsuit is currently ongoing. Ms. Ladino hopes that this lawsuit against her former employer will send a message to other agricultural industry employers that harassment will no longer be tolerated. She also hopes that other farmworkers will hear about this case and that it will give them the strength to fight back against workplace harassment.

Read more about this story.

CRLA'S special initiative to combat sexual violence in the agricutural industy.


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