SPOKANE — A Washington state agricultural company is to pay $525,000 to resolve sexual harassment allegations by its workers and is one of the largest civil rights resolutions in the state's history, according to the state's Attorney General's Office.
According to the Washington State Attorney's Office, Horning Brothers LLC allowed one of its foreman to sexually harass and discriminate against female workers by groping them and making sexual gestures and comments for several years. The company retaliated against the employees who rejected the foreman's sexual advances, the Attorney General's Office alleges. The foreman is also accused of only hiring women to sort onions on the company's packing line and limiting the hiring women for other positions.
“Horning Brothers received and ignored multiple notices over several years that sexual harassment was a problem at its company,” Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement. “[This] result forces a culture change at Horning Brothers by bringing justice to the women who were harassed and protecting future employees.”
The consent decree filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, also prevents Horning Brothers from allowing the foreman to hold any supervisory position at the company and implements employee harassment, discrimination and retaliation procedures.
Horning Brothers will also provide annual training to management and establish a non-discrimination and anti-retaliation policy to be approved by the Attorney General's Office, the resolution said.