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Are janitors at higher risk for being sexually harassed?

There's a very sad fact that all California janitors and cleaning staff members face. They are at high risk of being the victims of sexual harassment, and even sexual assault. This article seeks to explain why janitors are at risk, while also informing janitors and cleaning staff that under absolutely no circumstance should they ever have to put up with this kind of disgusting abuse.

There are many reasons why janitors are at high risk of being abused by sexual harassers. Here are some of the more common reasons why:

-- It's not uncommon for janitors to work in conditions that are isolated, where not many people are present in office buildings, late at night.

-- Janitor staff members are frequently undocumented immigrants, who fear for their jobs and are less likely to report instances of abuse. They don't want to be retaliated against and they're afraid of deportation. Language barriers and not understanding the law could also prevent them from reporting abuse.

-- Janitors may be contractors, and subcontractors, so they are from the chain of command, and this lessens the accountability of their employers.

-- Often managers and supervisors do not receive appropriate training, and janitorial service companies do not have sexual harassment policies. Their investigations of complaints can be unfair, humiliating and workers who complain could face threats of retaliation if they continue.

It doesn't matter if you're an undocumented immigrant cleaning offices, if you're a U.S. citizen working at a law firm or if you're a hair stylist, you have the right to work at a job that is free of sexual harassment. If you're facing this kind of abuse on the job, know that you have the power to stop any kind of sexual harassment, now and forever, and you do not have to fear retaliation. Even if you are retaliated against or lose your job, you can seek financial compensation in court.

Source: SHRM, "California Law Aims to Protect Janitors from Harassment and Wage Theft," Toni Vranjes, March 27, 2017

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