One does not have to work in an office, store, warehouse, factory or other traditional workplace to be subject to sexual harassment. Domestic workers may have a harder time fending off harassment, because there may be nobody besides the harasser to report the behavior to.
Sadly, this may make the harassment invisible to the rest of the world. In many cases, the power dynamic between employer and domestic employee may make taking action difficult. But one woman has taken the step of suing the couple she used to work for, SF Weekly reports.
The spouses are both executives at major tech companies. They hired the plaintiff to serve as a live-in domestic in 2008, when they were living in Singapore, and took her with them when they moved to San Francisco in 2013. The plaintiff, a native of the Philippines, quit in April.
She says the husband would routinely force her to work while he watched in the nude. He allegedly would also leave the bathroom door open while using the toilet. Once, the husband asked the plaintiff to massage his legs with a rolling pin before apologizing.
Though the husband warned the plaintiff not to tell his wife about his behavior, the plaintiff tried to speak to the wife on several occasions. According to the lawsuit, the wife would always claim she had no time to discuss the matter.
Besides sexual harassment, the suit charges the defendants with underpaying her by forcing her to sign contracts claiming she worked 30 hours per week, when she usually worked up to 54 hours. She also says she was denied meal and rest breaks as required by law.
Nobody deserves to be sexually harassed, including those who are harassed behind the closed doors of a private home.