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Guimarra Vineyard In Edison Settles Sexual Harassment Suit

A 17-year-old complained of sexual harassment in the workplace at Guimarra Vineyard and was fired shortly thereafter, according to a complaint filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2010. She and four other farm workers employed by the grape grower in California wine country asserted that they had been inappropriately touched and were the target of offensive comments from a coworker.

A settlement of $350,000 was reached between Guimarra and the EEOC to settle the workplace sexual harassment and retaliation claims. Guimarra has also pledged to offer employee rights awareness training centering on preventing, stopping and reporting sexual harassment in the workplace as well as informing employees of their right to report without fear of retaliation.

The California grape grower says that it is going above and beyond in addressing the issues raised in the EEOC lawsuit by providing training not only to supervisors, as required by law, but also up to 3,000 employees.

With this settlement, Anna Y. Park, an EEOC attorney based in the Los Angeles regional office, hopes that, "[T]he agricultural industry begins to self-regulate in rooting out the pervasive problems we continue to see in that industry."

"The tremendous undertaking of training a vast number of migrant farm workers by a prominent grower like Giumarra Vineyards is a groundbreaking endeavor, Park continued.

Guimarra Vineyards has also agreed to update its complaint procedures to include information in languages other than English, creating new anti-discrimination policies and creating a human resources group to handle any complaints of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the workplace.

Source: CBS News, "Calif. grower to pay $350K in sex harassment case," July 3, 2012

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