The nation’s largest janitorial company has agreed to an outside review of rape claims made by its female janitors in California, adding a new layer of oversight for a company with a history of facing accusations that it failed to prevent sexual violence.
ABM Industries Inc. made the pledge as part of a settlement announced Wednesday night with Maria Bojorquez, a former employee who said she was raped by a supervisor while cleaning San Francisco’s Ferry Building in 2004.
ABM, and the Bojorquez case specifically, was featured prominently in Rape on the Night Shift, a recent investigation into sexual abuse in the janitorial industry by Reveal, the UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program, KQED, Univision and FRONTLINE.
After Bojorquez reported the rape to ABM, the company’s internal investigation found her claims to be inconclusive. Bojorquez said she was fired for speaking up.
Three years ago, a jury awarded Bojorquez $812,000 in a sexual harassment lawsuit, saying the company failed to keep her safe and retaliated against her when she reported the rape. The company appealed the jury’s decision. During an appeals hearing, ABM’s lawyer said the company has “tens of thousands of employees located across the United States and internationally, many who work in remote locations at night with minimal supervision.”