Florida-based produce company DiMare Ruskin, Inc., has agreed to pay $150,000 to two female farmworkers who endured sexual harassment and retaliation at a company farm in Immokalee, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced.
According to the EEOC, DiMare Ruskin supervisors sexually harassed the women during their approximately 3 months of employment in the 2008–2009 growing season. When the women opposed the supervisors’ conduct, the company fired them, the EEOC charged.
In addition to the monetary settlement, DiMare Ruskin agreed to adopt a nationwide antiharassment policy, including complaint procedures; provide antidiscrimination training to employees nationwide; and report discrimination complaints to the EEOC for 3 years.
“Sexual harassment against women in the agricultural industry is a big problem,” said Robert Weisberg, EEOC regional attorney. “DiMare Ruskin took a major step in the right direction by agreeing to establish nationwide policies and procedures designed to prevent sexual harassment in the future, and to provide a means for employees to complain when they feel they are being subjected to it.” Weisberg also commended the Coalition for Immokalee Workers for educating Southwest Florida farmworkers regarding their rights to a discrimination-free workplace.