A bill created to address ongoing problems of sexual harassment among farmworkers in California may soon become law, if Gov. Jerry Brown is so willing.
Sen. Bill Monning, whose district includes SLO County, recently sponsored legislation that would amend the Farm Labor Contractor Act and require sexual harassment prevention training for contractors and employees. The bill, SB 1087, received support from both the state Senate and Assembly, and has moved on to the governor’s desk for a signature. The bill would enhance legal authority for the labor commissioner to crack down where reoccurring problems of sexual harassment occur.
According to a statement released from Monning’s office, SB 1097 resulted from a 2013 investigative report conducted by a collaboration of National Public Radio, Frontline, and the Center for Investigative Reporting, titled “Rape in the Fields.”
“Female farmworkers are among the most vulnerable and invisible of the state’s farmworker population,” Monning said in a statement. “Requiring sexual harassment prevention training for farm labor contractors, supervisors, and employees is the first step to helping protect these workers from unwanted sexual advances and, hopefully, sexual violence.”
-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay