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Opinion: California can help women by requiring nearly all employers to provide sexual harassment training

Victims of sexual harassment and assault protest with their supporters during a #MeToo march in Hollywood on Nov. 12.
Victims of sexual harassment and assault protest with their supporters during a #MeToo march in Hollywood on Nov. 12.
(Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: I applaud The Times Editorial Board for highlighting the stark fact that recent sexual harassment revelations and the backlash in response have not yet reached economic sectors with cultures of perhaps the highest dysfunction and disenfranchisement. (“A #MeToo moment for the poor and powerless,” editorial, Dec. 28)

Many women (often the sole breadwinners of their households), including farmworkers, housekeepers and restaurant line cooks, have shared with me their painful workplace experiences. With deep concern for the millions who still feel powerless and invisible, I recently proposed changes in California law and policy to extend sexual harassment prevention training requirements to all businesses with five or more employees across all industries.

This reform would equip more workers with important information in multiple languages on recognizing and reporting harassment and understanding their rights.

I agree: The “second act” to this cultural movement must be the expanded focus on lower-wage workers, and it must start now.

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Betty Yee, Sacramento

The writer is the elected state controller of California.

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To the editor: With the many articles on sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and elsewhere, one might get the impression that Hollywood is rotten throughout. (“Women won’t be silenced — sexual harassers are on notice,” Dec. 19)

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I became an actress much later in life than most affected women and am now retired from the business; however, I feel compelled to speak out on behalf of the many professionals that I have met throughout my years in Hollywood.

There has never been anything but respect and consideration. I am happy that sexual harassment has come into the spotlight, but let’s not overlook the fact that most people in the industry are hardworking and ethical.

Ortrud Swanson, Dana Point

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To the editor: It appears that columnist Robin Abcarian made a glaring omission.

What about President Trump? He himself gleefully admitted his methods and attempted conquests for all of us to hear. He has been repeatedly sued, accused and exposed for his misogyny and dirty deeds.

I think that he has earned a seat at the table. Perhaps Abcarian will do a follow-up article that will set the record straight.

Barbara Brighton, Woodland Hills

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