Friday, June 17, 2005

Latino farmworkers win $1.05 settlement

A group of Latino farmworkers will share one of the largest discrimination settlements in the agriculture industry--$1.05 million. Complaints started as far back as 1989. The workers, mostly Hispanic women, said they were sexually harassed--one said she was raped. When one longtime employee complained about the harassment, she and her crew were fired. Women also said the company denied them job opportunities based on their gender.

The settlement stems from a 2003 lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of Virginia Mejia, Rosario Taylor and several dozen other women against Rivera Vineyards in California's Coachella Valley.

"In the farmworker industry, there is fear of retaliation," Santos Albarran, outreach manager for the Los Angeles EEOC, said. "A lot has to do with the language barrier, for one. The other is stress about government agencies. Because it's such a close-knit industry, they can be blackballed."

The company denied the allegations. The company also agreed to reinstate workers who were wrongfully terminated. Sure--I'd want to go back and work at a place that rapes women & treats them like trash.

Rivera Vineyards should be shut down.

$1.05 Million Settles Farmworkers' Case - June 16, 2005

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