United States: Female Janitors Suffer Widespread Sexual Assault and Harassment

Rape on the Night Shift, a documentary series from PBS Frontline, investigates the widespread sexual harassment and assault suffered by women who work the night shift as janitors. The women, mostly immigrants, are vulnerable to abuse because they tend to work alone and often at several different job sites. The report found that the perpetrators are usually male supervisors on duty at the same time as the women janitors. The U.S. federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued several large janitorial companies multiple times for failing to protect their employees from sexual violence and harassment. However, the Frontline investigation found that U.S. state and federal regulators generally do not treat sexual assault on the job as an issue of workplace safety and have not issued clear rules requiring employers to prevent sexual assault.


Compiled from: Rape on the Night Shift, PBS Frontline (June 23, 2015); Khokha, Sasha, Working Alone, at Night, Janitors Risk Sexual Violence, KQED News (June 23, 2015); Thompson, Nicole Akoukou, PBS Frontline Documentary Explores Sexual Abuse, Dangers Experiences by Hispanic and Immigrant Women, Latin Post (June 24, 2015).