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Migrant Worker Groups Address Employee Rights In South Florida

Portland Press Herald

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that enforces anti-discrimination laws.

Members of the EEOC held a hearing in Miami about race and ethnicity discrimination in the workplace.

Last week, the commission held its first public commission meeting outside of Washington in 15 years. They also held a private meeting with migrant worker groups in South Florida.

The EEOC says it’s strengthening efforts to serve vulnerable immigrant populations and the working conditions they face.

“In immigrant populations, I think unfortunately, there’s been a really serious problem with sexual assault and sexual harassment,” said David Lopez, the general council for the commission.

Victoria Mesa-Estrada is a lawyer from Lake Worth who represents low-wage workers on employment discrimination matters. She was at the private commission meeting.

“Those are the people that are really suffering the discrimination, and it’s not the white collar executive that has the attorney that would always come and represent his rights. I mean low-wage workers don’t have that luxury,” said Mesa-Estrada.

Mesa-Estrada says that sometimes mixing cultures makes it difficult to stay on the same page when it comes to employees' rights.

The commission adds that Miami is a place where that miscommunication is likely to happen because of its diverse community. Video of the public commission meeting will be available on the EEOC website this week.