Maine Farm Owns Up to Harassment, Retaliation of Female Workers in Far-Reaching Settlement

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission continues to call farms to account for allowing sexual harassment against their female workers.

In the latest example, the EEOC announced today it has reached a settlement with Maine’s County Fair Farm to settle harassment and retaliation allegations on behalf of female farmworkers.

According to EEOC’s suit, County Fair Farm violated federal law by creating and maintaining a sexually hostile work environment for female farmworkers since 2003. EEOC said the harassment included groping, explicit sex-related comments, and repeated requests for sexual favors. When one victim rejected the sexual advances, she was subject to increased harassment, including threats of violence. Complaints to the farm’s owners were ignored, EEOC said.

The consent decree entered into U.S. district court calls for the establishment of a $120,000 fund to compensate the women. In addition, the farm agreed to enact, for the first time, policies and procedures to prevent sexual harassment and retaliation.

The decree also requires the farm to post anti-discrimination notices in English and Spanish and to provide training to employees to prevent sexual harassment and ensure workers are aware of their right to work in an environment free from unlawful discrimination in the future. In addition, County Fair Farm has agreed that it will no longer employ the alleged perpetrators of the sexual harassment.

Read more about this matter.

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