California Farm to Pay $330,000 over Sexual Harassment Claims

Zoria Farms, one of the largest dried fruit processors in the U.S., has settled a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $330,000. Photo of sexual harassment

According to a press release by the agency, the settlement was made on the behalf of ten Latino farm workers in Fresno. The EEOC noted that beginning in 2007, two supervisors at the company subjected at least four workers to sexual harassment in the form of “comments, leering, hugging, kissing, requests for dates or sex, and unwelcome physical acts.”

Additionally, the EEOC contended that the victims reported the harassment, but the company failed to take corrective action or handle the situation properly. In 2008, Zoria Farms was sold to Z Food, and seven of the 10 workers who filed harassment complaints against the company were retaliated against and not rehired.

In September 2013, the EEOC filed lawsuits against both companies in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, alleging that the sexual harassment and retaliation violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“The agricultural industry in particular needs to recognize the susceptibility of its workforce to sexual harassment and make protecting workers a priority,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, in a statement. “Employers must implement measures to both prevent and correct instances of sexual harassment at work.”

Our Los Angeles Labor Attorneys Can Help You Fight Sexual Harassment

If you have been sexually harassed at work, you should first report any instances of harassment directly to your human resources department. If continued harassment occurs, you may be able to file a lawsuit seeking damages for your pain and suffering.

To determine if your employer is promoting a hostile work environment and/or allowing sexual harassment to occur, speak to our Los Angeles labor attorneys. Visit our Facebook or Twitter pages for more information about employment law news.

Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment attorneys