Farmworkers and Sexual Harassment

Carina Diaz worked in fields in upstate New York for seven years, picking tomatoes, planting onions, and growing other specialty vegetable crops like beets. During that time, she says, she and the other women she worked with were sexually harassed by their supervisor and his friend. Her supervisor groped the women, made vulgar comments and threatened them. She says she had a boss who threatened to deport undocumented workers because he didn't want to pay them bonuses they were due. In general, the supervisors acted as if the harassment were acceptable because they gave the women jobs, and the women were afraid to report the abuse because they needed the money and didn't trust law enforcement. "Supervisors touch women's bodies and they think they can get away with it," she said this morning at an event hosted by the Southern Poverty Law Center.