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(l-r) Chelsea Edwards and Liz Chacko of Justice at Work.

The entertainment industry has succeeded in drawing attention to the ways that sexual assault and harassment can become pervasive when employees have limited options for reporting abuse and employers have the power to blacklist. We at Justice at Work (formerly Friends of Farmworkers) see these same factors leading to abuses against the far less visible but incredibly vulnerable women who make up Pennsylvania’s low-wage workforce. For our clients—who work in industries like agriculture, meatpacking, housekeeping and restaurants—saying #MeToo and speaking out against unfair treatment in the workplace can wind up being more costly than simply keeping quiet and enduring whatever abuse they may be facing. Furthermore, many of these individuals face additional barriers to reporting because of their immigration status or limited English proficiency. These differences create asymmetrical power dynamics that cause this population to remain invisible, all while the staggering rates of abuse continue to grow.

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