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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

EEOC: Nation's largest organic tree fruit grower to pay $95,000 after alleged sexual harassment

By Mark Iandolo | Apr 17, 2018

SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced April 3 that Stemilt Growers, the largest organic tree fruit grower in the United States, will pay $95,000 to a Latina tractor driver after allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination.

"Sexual harassment dominates the national conversation. Now more than ever, employers must show leadership, demonstrate accountability to all employees, and foster civil workplaces where everyone is shown respect,” Nancy Sienko, director of the EEOC's Seattle Field Office, said in a statement.

According to the EEOC, Stemilt allowed a direct supervisor of Heidi Corona to sexually harass her. Corona reported the harassment to upper management and was allegedly told she could either transfer to a lower-paying job sorting fruit or remain in the position as a tractor driver under the supervisor. Purported conduct of this nature violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

"Ms. Corona just wanted to drive her tractor, a rare position for a woman to hold in that industry,” Carmen Flores, EEOC senior trial attorney, said in a statement. “Instead, she was forced to give up a job she loved and take a pay cut to avoid harassment, an all-too-familiar pattern for workers across industries as seen from #MeToo accounts. We hope this settlement sends a clear message that EEOC can be a key resource in the fight to end workplace sexual harassment."

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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission