Egg supplier National Food Corporation has agreed to pay $650,000 to five employees to settle an EEOC sexual harassment lawsuit.
One of the employees at National Food’s egg farm in Lind, Washington claims that her former bad boss subjected her to a hostile work environment by demanding sexual favors from her on a weekly basis from 2003 to 2010 as a condition of keeping her job and by grabbing her.
According to the EEOC, when the woman’s coworkers complained to company management about the sexual harassment, they were fired or forced to quit their jobs.
The woman said, “For almost seven years, I tried to just survive these demands from my boss, because I needed to support my mother and my daughter. I hope my case will help other workers to speak out against sexual harassment. It’s important to know that that you have a right to say no to sexual demands even from a supervisor, and that the law protects you when you protest harassment.”
EEOC general counsel David Lopez said, “This lawsuit is another in an unfortunate pattern of employers taking advantage of female agricultural workers who often work in isolation and are unaware of their rights. It is one of the EEOC’s national priorities to combat discrimination against vulnerable workers, and we hope that this settlement sends a message to other employers that they need to be vigilant to prevent sexual harassment and other abuse.”
In addition to the $650,000 payment, National Food has also agreed to issue EEO policies in English and Spanish to employees throughout Eastern Washington and South Dakota. The company has committed to institute changes to ensure that its complaint procedures are accessible, and it will train its management and will hold its bosses accountable for any discrimination, harassment or retaliation that happens under their watch. National Foods will also not rehire any alleged harassers in any capacity.
[Image: George M. Groutas]