California Vineyard Will Pay $350K to Settle Teenage Sexual Harassment, Retaliation Lawsuit
July 5, 2012
In a previous Anaheim, California employment lawyers blog, attorney Vincent Howard discussed a recent California discrimination lawsuit brought against Giumarra Vineyards Corporation, by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)--after a teenage farm worker was allegedly sexually harassed, and forced to endure a hostile work environment and retaliation by a Giumarra worker.
According to the EEOC, Giumarra, one of the largest table grapes growers in the country, will settle the sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit by paying $350,000, and agreeing to implement comprehensive changes of the company's discrimination and retaliation procedures--that will affect up to 3,000 employees.
The settlement resolves the EEOC lawsuit filed on behalf of a 17-year-old female migrant worker, who was reportedly forced to endure verbal harassment and sexual comments, as well as inappropriate sexual touching by a Giumarra worker on a regular basis. After a group of other workers witnessed the sexual harassment of the teenager and reported the treatment by filing a complaint, they were all fired one day later in retaliation. According to the EEOC, all of the victims in the case are indigenous Indians who come from Mexico, a minority in the community of Mexican farm workers.
As Vincent Howard frequently discusses, harassment based on gender in the workplace is against the law. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal to engage in sexual advances that are unwelcome, to ask for favors of a sexual nature or to engage in any other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature--when this conduct implicitly or explicitly affects the individual's employment, interferes with an individual's employment performance in an unreasonable way, or creates an environment that is hostile, intimidating or offensive. It is also against the law to retaliate against an individual who files a complaint of sexual harassment, who opposes employment practices that discriminate against employees based on sex, or who testifies or participates in any way in an investigation or lawsuit.
As part of the preventative measures, Giumarra vineyards agreed to devote part of the settlement to train the workers at the company, and to hire a trainer to conduct sexual harassment and retaliation training for the migrant farmworkers and other employees, including new staff arrivals, in languages that the employees can all understand. The human resources department and management officials will also be trained every year on how to handle these complaints appropriately.
Our Carson-based labor and employment legal team is experienced in helping individuals who have endured sexual harassment or retaliation in the workplace. Contact Vincent Howard today to discuss your labor and employment issue at 1-800-872-5925.
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