The agriculture industry in California is a $54 billion economical behemoth. According to the EEOC, the industry is rife with sexual harassment and other misconduct that often create a hostile work environment for female employees. Recently, a federal court passed a large judgement against Z Foods, which is one of the biggest dried fruit manufacturers in the country.
According to court documents, the EEOC charged and proved that Z Foods fostered a work environment that allowed male supervisory to harass female workers. Additionally, the charges state that the company also allowed supervisors to fire female and male workers in retaliation if they lodged complaints against their bosses. The court ruled that the plaintiffs endured severe emotional distress as a result of the company’s actions.
The EEOC praised the solidarity it found amongst male and female workers in this matter. It was due to this critical component that the government was able to achieve the large, $1,470,000 settlement. This amount is the maximum sanction allowed by the statute. The EEOC believes that this large number will send a strong message to other employers within the industry, and hopes that it will ultimately be an excellent deterrent to other companies who are allowing these practices to continue in their workplaces.
Though lawsuits like this are decreasing in number, these types of situations still occur in America’s workplace. California employees facing similar sexual harassment situations may benefit from contacting an attorney with experience in employment law. This type of attorney will be in the best position to discuss the options available based upon the client’s unique employment issues.
Source: natlawreview.com, “Federal Judge Awards $1,470,000 in EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Case Against Z Foods“, July 24, 2016