Mushroom farm operators will pay $200K to resolve same-sex sexual harassment, retaliation allegations
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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Mushroom farm operators will pay $200K to resolve same-sex sexual harassment, retaliation allegations

By WK Editorial Staff

A female manager and two female employees allegedly harassed eight female workers.

Bisconti Farms, Inc., and Bisconti Management, Inc., have agreed to pay $200,000 and furnish certain equitable relief to settle allegations that the operators of a mushroom farm in Temple, Pennsylvania, violated Title VII by permitting a female manager and two female employees to subject eight female workers to sexual harassment and retaliated against one of the workers who opposed the harassment.

Sexual harassment. From at least 2007 until 2015, a female manager and two female employees at Bisconti Farms subjected eight female workers working in various mushroom-harvesting positions to repeated sexual harassment in the form of unwanted sexual touching and comments, according to the EEOC.

Bisconti Farms also allegedly retaliated against one of the workers who opposed the sexual harassment by disciplining her and demoting or reassigning her to a different, lower-paying position.

Equitable relief. The three-year consent decree resolving the litigation, in addition to the monetary relief for the affected employees, requires Bisconti Farms to: submit mandatory reports to the EEOC of any future complaints and investigations of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or retaliation; create and disseminate an antidiscrimination policy and complaint procedure in Spanish and English; designate EEO officers to investigate and respond to complaints; provide training on Title VII in Spanish and English, and provide EEO officers with additional training on conducting investigations of complaints; and post and distribute to workers a bi-lingual notice about the settlement and employees' rights under Title VII.

Further, the three individuals charged by the EEOC as the harassment perpetrators are barred from holding supervisory positions with Bisconti Farms.

"Employers have a duty to protect their workers from sexual harassment," said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. "That duty includes providing anti-harassment policies, complaint procedures, and training to workers in a form that is language accessible."

The EEOC also noted that protecting vulnerable workers, including immigrant and migrant workers, and underserved communities from discrimination is one of the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) priorities. Preventing systemic harassment is another SEP priority.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; the case is No. 18-cv-4166.

Companies: Bisconti Farms, Inc.; Bisconti Management, Inc.

News: AgencyNews Discrimination SexDiscrimination SexualHarassment Retaliation

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