Ending Sexual Harassment Against Women in Agriculture: New York Assembly Bill 2096

The Drake Institute of Research and Policy SUPPORTS New York Assembly Bill 2096 which calls on the New York legislature to pass and the Governor to sign legislation prohibiting discrimination against any person based on his or her delay in reporting sexual harassment in the workplace and extending the statue of limitations for cases of sexual harassment in the workplace.

In 2019, 12,739 sex-based harassment cases were filed in the United States. Ten percent of New Yorkers experience some form of sexual harassment in the workplace; 1 in 8 women in New York experience sexual harassment in the workplace, and 13.9 percent of non-white Hispanics experience some form of workplace sexual harassment.

A particular group of workers which should be considered and included in this bill are farmworkers. Farmworkers are some of the most vulnerable people in the U.S. Eighty percent of farmworkers are non-citizens, and comprise the majority of farmworkers in the United States. Over 90% are Hispanic or Latino, and approximately 25.5% are women. Not only are women highly susceptible to receive lower wages, they are particularly vulnerable to and highly likely to experience various forms of workplace sexual harassment or sexual assault by their colleagues.

To ensure that protections in the bill are extended to farmworkers, the bill should also seek to amend the New York labor law to include a definition of “workplace” that explicitly includes not only workspaces located within buildings but also outdoor workspaces, such as farmlands. With this amendment, this bill would encourage all employees, including farmworkers, to report sexual harassment or assault without fear of discrimination and give them more time to make a decision to file a discrimination or sexual harassment/assault complaint after processing their victimization and seeking clinical services.

For these reasons, the Drake Institute of Research and Policy SUPPORTS New York Assembly Bill 2096, with an amendment to extend protections to farmworkers, and asks for a FAVORABLE report.

By: Natalie Gomez

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