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“The Only Thing I Wish I Could Change Is That They Treat Us Like People and Not Like Animals”: Injury and Discrimination Among Latino Farmworkers

Snipes, Shedra A., Cooper, Sharon P., Shipp, Eva M.
Journal of agromedicine 2017 v.22 no.1 pp. 36-46
Latinos, animals, farm labor, farms, human resources, interviews, issues and policy, United States
Objective: This article describes how perceived discrimination shapes the way Latino farmworkers encounter injuries and seek out treatment. Methods: After 5 months of ethnographic fieldwork, 89 open-ended, semistructured interviews were analyzed. NVivo was used to code and qualitatively organize the interviews and field notes. Finally, codes, notes, and co-occurring dynamics were used to iteratively assess the data for major themes. Results: The primary source of perceived discrimination was the “boss” or farm owner. Immigrant status was also a significant influence on how farmworkers perceived the discrimination. Specifically, the ability to speak English and length of stay in the United States were related to stronger perceptions of discrimination. Finally, farm owners compelled their Latino employees to work through their injuries without treatment. Conclusions: This ethnographic account brings attention to how discrimination and lack of worksite protections are implicated in farmworkers’ injury experiences and suggests the need for policies that better safeguard vulnerable workers.