Tu Casa Latina is a nonprofit organization that helps undocumented individuals who are victims of crime, such as domestic violence or sexual assault. The organization hosted an event this week about the sexual abuse of immigrant women who work the night shift. KUNR's Karina Gonzalez reports.
The event focused on raising awareness about the process for reporting sexual misconduct in the workplace, specifically for undocumented individuals.
It included a screening of the PBS FRONTLINE documentary, Rape on the Night Shift, which investigates sexual abuse of female immigrant janitors.
Daysi Rodriguez is the outreach coordinator for Tu Casa Latina. She said people have come to them when they have been sexually harassed at work and don’t know what to do, but often victims don't follow up.
"People want this information, but I think the fear and anxiety is just too much," she said, "and it's really becoming a barrier for them seeking justice, and, in turn, not just seeking justice, but getting the resources that they direly need because this is trauma,” said Rodriguez.
William Tamayo is district director for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and was at the event providing information.
Tamayo, who oversees investigations in several Western states including Northern California and Northern Nevada, said most sexual harassment complaints are reported to the EEOC after the employee has already been fired.
His office has seen a spike in reported cases after the #MeToo Movement, but there haven't been many cases in Reno, a city that is known for its hotels, casinos and tourism industry.
“We're not seeing as many women coming forward who are janitors, hotel maids, etc., coming forward to complain,” said Tamayo. “But we're trying to set the conditions so that they come forward because I believe they're very vulnerable and dealing with vulnerable workers is a major priority for the EEOC.”
Tu Casa Latina plans to hold more events in the future related to immigrant rights and protecting undocumented community members.
Karina Gonzalez is a senior at the Reynolds School of Journalism and works for Noticiero Móvil, a Spanish-English multimedia news outlet for Northern Nevada.