Wednesday, September 16, 2015

EEOC Obtains $17 Million Jury Verdict in Sexual Harassment and Retaliation for Female Employees at Moreno Farms

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced last week that it had obtained a jury verdict award of $17,425,000 to five former female employees of Moreno Farms, Inc., a produce growing and packing operation in Felda, Fla., who suffered sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII.   The summarized facts of the case are quite disturbing:
According to EEOC's suit, two sons of the owner of Moreno Farms and a third male supervisor engaged in graphic acts of sexual harassment against female workers in Moreno Farms' packaging house, including regular groping and propositioning, threatening female employees with termination if they refused the supervisors' sexual advances, and attempting to rape, and raping, multiple female employees.  All five women were ultimately fired for opposing the three men's sexual harass­ment.
EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  On Sept. 10, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in the Moreno Farms case, awarding $2,425,000 in compensatory damages and $15 million in punitive damages to the five female farmworkers. 

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