EEOC targets Florida farm business for sexual harassment allegations

By Mark Iandolo | Jun 12, 2017

TAMPA, Fla. (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a lawsuit May 31 against Favorite Farms Inc., a farm business in Dover, Florida, for allegations of subjecting a female farmworker to sexual harassment, including rape, and then suspending and firing her for complaining about it.

"No employee should be subjected to sexually degrading conduct as a condition of employment," said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC's Miami District Office. "Migrant farmworkers are no exception. They are an important but vulnerable segment of our labor force whose civil rights this lawsuit seeks to protect."

According to allegations, the farm business allowed a female employee to be subjected to unwelcome sexual comments, forcible physical contact and rape by a male supervisor. The EEOC says the rape was immediately reported, yet Favorite Farms took no action. The employee was forced to take action herself and filed a restraining order. Favorite Farms then purportedly suspended and fired her.

"This lawsuit underscores the EEOC's longstanding nationwide commitment to addressing the plight of this vulnerable segment of workers who are often reluctant to assert their rights under our equal employment laws,” said Michael Farrell, director of the Miami District Office.

The EEOC seeks monetary and injunctive relief.

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