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Exploring Sexual Harassment in the Workplace of Foreign Home Caregivers: Perspectives of Shelter Worker
sexual harassment in the workplace
The Me Too Movement re-raised the awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace around the world in 2017. More and more survivors of sexual harassment chose to break the silence, began sharing their stories about the trauma wrought by sexual harassment and showing the world ‘how common sexual harassment is’. Even though, Taiwan’s news and the statistical data from Ministry of Labor showed that migrant workers who worked as home caregiver might face higher risk of experiencing sexual harassment than those in other industries, and some sexual harassment incidents eventually turned into significant sexual assault crises. The related academic studies still pay little attention to the issue of sexual harassment of foreign home caregivers in the workplace. Thus, this research uses the in-depth interview method in qualitative research to collect the working experience of six shelter workers who have helped home caregiversto deal with sexual harassment in the workplace. The research conclusions are as follows: 1.When a home caregiver faces sexual harassment at work, the offender is almost the male client or employer. Home caregivers are at a higher risk of facing sexual harassment at work due to the special characteristics of caregiving jobs, clients’ dementia, and employers’ unsolicited expressions of affection. The lack of protection for home caregivers’ working hours, living spaces, and freedom to change work under Taiwan’s labor laws also put them at higher risk. 2.When seeking for help, home caregivers have to face lots of challenges that extended from the process. Examples of challenges that continue to put home caregivers in the face of fear and threat when it comes to sexual harassment include: Employer can’t play an effective role in stopping the offender because of the awkward relationship with offender; agencies lack a standard and fair procedure to take care of sexual harassment; the 1955 hotline workers lack sensitivity and professionalism. 3.Even if home caregivers seek help from shelters, employers and agencies can still use the mediation process for labor disputes to make things hard for them. When they report problems to the Gender Equality Committee or try to bring the offender to court, they face challenges such as a long waiting process, limited ability to describe events that happened, and the results are not easy to establish. This also shows that related personnel and current regulations are unable to recognize that oppression resulting from gender, class and racial issues, which make it challenging for home caregivers to get the safety and rights they need. Finally, based on the above research conclusions, this research puts forward some suggestions to policy field and practical field in order to provide more secure and friendly working environment to foreign home caregivers
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