Capitol Alert

Protesters block street, arrested outside California Capitol

Nine women were arrested outside the Capitol Tuesday in a peaceful protest calling for more protection for janitors facing sexual assault in the workplace.

Janitors, their families and the United Service Workers West planned the rally, protest and arrests in support of Assembly Bill 1978, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, to create more safeguards for janitorial workers. The bill would require employers to participate in sexual harassment and assault training and prevention programs and develop a hotline for victims, among other measures.

A new study by researchers at the Labor Occupational Health Program at University of California Berkeley states that between one third and one half of women are sexually harassed during their career. Advocates say female janitors are susceptible to rape and other forms of sexual assault because they work alone late at night and are often employed by subcontractors with little accountability.

The bill was passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee last week.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna