YAKIMA, Washington (Legal Newsline) — Evans Fruit has agreed to pay $272,000 to 20 claimants over sexual harassment allegations, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced.
Evans Fruit is one of the largest apple producers in the country. The EEOC first filed a lawsuit against the brand in June 2010, alleging multiple female employees faced sexual harassment over a period of years.
A prolonged legal battle ensued. After the adverse rulings for the EEOC and its claimants, some of whom were represented by the Northwest Justice Project, the EEOC filed for appeals. Eventually, while the appeals were pending, Evans Fruit agreed to a settlement that resolves all claims.
"The EEOC and Northwest Justice Project fought hard to protect the rights of immigrant farm workers and refused to simply go away when faced with losses in the trial court," said EEOC lead trial counsel Carmen Flores. "The temporary restraining order and the preliminary injunction were major victories for workers who had been scared to participate in our lawsuit. All claimants in the combined cases showed courage and perseverance, and this settlement closes a long chapter in their lives."
Protecting immigrant, migrant and other vulnerable workers is a major initiative of the EEOC, Flores added.