USA: Tomato farm company DiMare Ruskin settles lawsuit arising from sexual harassment complaint by 2 former farm workers

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24 July 2012

Nightmarish complaint underscores value of Fair Food Program

Author: Coalition of Immokalee Workers

..[E]ven by the dismally low standards of the fields, the picture of a hostile workplace painted by the women was exceptional for its harshness and depravity. There was no Fair Food Program at the time — in fact, the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange was still fighting the Campaign for Fair Food tooth and nail — and so CIW staff members listened to the women’s complaints...and helped get them in contact with federal authorities at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). And this past week...the women who walked into the CIW office to seek justice found some measure of relief for the humiliation they suffered at the hands of their supervisors in the tomato harvest...[E]mbraced by the vast majority of Florida growers, the Fair Food Program [is] based on...partnership between farmworkers and their employers. This latest settlement can only reinforce for tomato industry leaders — and for...[firms] like Publix, Kroger, Ahold, and Walmart that buy their produce — the wisdom of this new approach.

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19 July 2012

Florida tomato grower settles suit filed by EEOC

Author: Amy Bennett Williams, News-Press [Florida, USA]

One of the state’s major tomato growers will pay two women $150,000 and change the way it deals with harassment complaints to settle a federal lawsuit. The women, who worked in DiMare Ruskin’s Immokalee fields for three months, were sexually harassed by supervisors then fired when they complained, the suit alleged...As part of the settlement, DiMare agreed to establish a nationwide anti-harassment policy and train employees about anti-discrimination laws.

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