Bill aimed at preventing sexual harassment of farmworkers moves forward

CARMEL, Calif. - A bill that would require sexual harassment prevention training for agriculture workers is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Sen. Bill Monning, a Carmel Democrat, authored the measure, which would address numerous reports of sexual harassment, including rape, against female farmworkers.

"Female farmworkers are among the most vulnerable and invisible of the state's farmworker population," said Sen. Monning. "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."

The bill would amend the state Farm Labor Contractor Act to mandate sexual harassment prevention training for licensees and their supervisors, as well as require that all non-supervisorial employees, including agricultural employees, be trained at the time of hire and at least once every two years.

It also establishes new legal authority for the state's labor commissioner to take action against sexual predators and increases funding for the Farm Labor Contractor Enforcement and License Verification units.

The legislation is a result of a 2013 joint investigation conducted by NPR and the Center for Investigative Reporting titled "Rape in the Fields."

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