A group of 10 farmworkers may finally feel that they have found justice against Zoria Farms. The California-based company is one the biggest processors of dried fruit in the United States. The group of plaintiffs was comprised of men and women who all allege that they were the victims of sexual harassment.
According to the complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, at least two supervisors are being accused of harassing the workers. They claim that this activity began in 2007. The two supervisors allegedly would try to coerce the workers to have sex or to go out on dates with them. The workers were also purportedly subjected to inappropriate sexual comments. The plaintiffs further allege that the harassment was also physical when the supervisors tried to hugs and kiss the workers.
The plaintiffs maintain that they reported the sexual harassment, but the company did not immediately try to stop it from continuing. In 2008, Zoria farms was sold to Z foods. A large number of workers were allegedly not given jobs after the transition as an act of retaliation for reporting the sexual harassment.
The EEOC announced that the sexual harassment case against Zoria Farms for the California workers was settled for $330,000. The EEOC claim against Z foods is still ongoing. As a result of the decision, the company has signed a five-year decree consenting to amend its policies and procedures if the company should open again. This would creating a system for the company to track retaliation and harassment complaints going forward.
Source: kqed.org, “Big Win for Farmworkers in Sexual Harassment Case“, Sasha Khokha, June 25, 2015