Given the sustained high temperatures across the country, employees who work outside, or in factories that are not air conditioned or difficult to keep cool, have had a hard time trying to do their jobs. They’ve faced heat exhaustion, serious illness and even death.
I recently wrote about the most dangerous jobs in the heat — including roofers, baggage handlers, foundry workers, road crews, and farm workers — and the government talked a lot about all they were doing to protect workers. But it turns out, they have pretty thin authority to keep employers from putting employees in harms way when it comes to the heat; and the justice system doesn’t always work after the fact.
One particularly disturbing story involved a pregnant teenager who was a farmworker, and her bosses got a way with a slap on the wrist.
From the Associated Press:
Two California farm supervisors charged in the heat-related death of a pregnant teen farmworker reached a plea deal Wednesday and were sentenced to community service and probation, angering farmworker advocates who had called for jail time.
Authorities said Maria Isavel Vasquez Jimenez, 17, died in 2008 because supervisors denied her shade and water as she pruned grapes for nine hours in nearly triple-digit heat in a San Joaquin County vineyard.