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Sexual harassment at a farm leads to large settlement

Employers throughout the country sometimes engage in many different forms of employment discrimination. This is an unfortunate reality for many American workers, including some in Colorado. However, when discrimination occurs in the workplace -- sexual harassment in particular -- there are also many different ways in which a discriminatory employer can be held accountable for their actions under the nation's employment laws. That was the case recently in one Western state, when a large onion farm was ordered to pay a significant settlement for the alleged actions of one of their employees.

According to the reports, the sexual harassment in this case appears to have been mostly verbal in nature. Although no physical contact was alleged to have taken place, the female employee who brought the claim forward asserted that her supervisor, a male employee, repeatedly stated that women are inferior to males. The supervisor also apparently made comments in some instances requesting sexual favors. The situation came to a head in 2010, after the supervisor blamed the employee for the arrest of her husband -- who also worked at the onion farm -- and as a result the supervisor fired the woman.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took up the case, and has now reached a settlement. As part of the terms the onion farm will pay $150,000, as well as agreeing to retain the female victim as an employee at the farm.

It can be thought provoking to imagine all of the employees throughout the country who put up with even a small amount of discrimination or harassment from their employers simply because they do not want to risk their job by taking action. However, employment laws are intended to protect workers, and putting the laws to use, especially in a case of sexual harassment, can be the right option.

Source: OregonLive, "Oregon onion farm to pay $150,000 to settle sexual harassment lawsuit," May 14, 2013

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