2014 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Alyson Dimmitt Gnam

Alyson Dimmitt Gnam

Name of Host Organization: Northwest Justice Project
City, State: Wenatchee, Washington
Issue area: Immigrant Populations, Farmworkers Women's Rights
Sponsors: Friends & Family of Philip M. Stern

The Project

Alyson combatted sexual harassment of immigrant agricultural workers in Washington state with legal education to break the silence, litigation for industry change, and a multidisciplinary network to sustain survivors.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Washington has the third largest farmworker labor force in the nation. More than 80 percent of farmworker women are sexually harassed on the job, enduring routine obscenities, sexual assault, and even rape. These workers face significant barriers, to enforcing their right to a workplace free of gender violence–most lack regular immigration status, do not speak English, live far below the poverty line, and are isolated in rural communities. Campesina Digna is the first project in Washington state dedicated to combating sexual harassment in the agricultural industry, working with farmworker women to enforce their right to a dignified workplace.
Fellowship Highlights: 
In the past two years, Alyson has:
• Filed thirteen administrative charges of sexual harassment and retaliation, initiating agency investigations that hold agricultural employers accountable for failing to prevent and stop workplace sexual harassment
• Filed a complaint in the Western District of Washington as Plaintiffs-Interveners in EEOC v. Trans Ocean Seafood’s, protecting the rights of clam diggers to work free from sexual harassment and retaliation
• Negotiated a monetary settlement for two clients who were victims of sexual harassment and retaliation in conjunction with a public consent decree committing the employer of hundreds of workers to changes that will prevent harassment and retaliation of workers
• Obtained U Visa Certifications for five victims of workplace abuse, putting them on the road to long-term stability and reduced vulnerability through immigration status
• Led 42 Know Your Rights workshops for 1300+ farmworkers, breaking the silence around workplace sexual harassment in nineteen rural communities and empowering workers to protect their rights and speak up against gender violence
• Trained more than 450 service providers across Washington State to identify victims of workplace sexual harassment and provide legal referrals and appropriate services
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Alyson plans to:
• Continue the work of Campesina Digna at Northwest Justice Project through Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding
• As the administrative process culminates in the charges filed during Campesina Digna, litigate cases to compel reform in the agricultural industry to stop farmworker sexual harassment

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