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Giumarra Vineyards settles EEOC sexual harassment, retaliation suit


FRESNO, Calif.—Giumarra Vineyards Corp. has agreed to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, paying $350,000 to resolve the case along with sweeping changes to its company procedures.

The settlement resolves a 2010 lawsuit filed by the EEOC against the Edison, Calif.-based vineyard in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Fresno, Calif., the EEOC said Monday in a statement.

The EEOC alleged that Giumarra Vineyards failed to take action after a 17-year-old female farm worker and others complained of sexual harassment and were subsequently fired in retaliation, according to court documents.

As part of the settlement, the company agreed to widespread preventive measures such as hiring a third-party trainer to conduct training on sexual harassment and retaliation for up to 3,000 employees.

Other measures include new anti-discrimination policies and complaint procedures available in different languages and hiring a human resources professional to handle complaints of discrimination.

“The tremendous undertaking of training a vast number of migrant farm workers by a prominent grower like Giumarra Vineyards is a groundbreaking endeavor,” Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC in Los Angeles, said in the statement. “We hope that with this sweeping resolution, the agricultural industry begins to self-regulate in rooting out the pervasive problems we continue to see in that industry.”

“The majority of the settlement amount is going towards enhancing our current policies and procedures to include training of all 3,000 of our farm workers on sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination, as well as additional training for our management and human resources professionals on how to appropriately handle such complaints,” a spokesman for Giumarra Vineyards said in an email.

“While the law only requires supervisors to be trained on these issues, our program will go beyond what the law requires by fully training farm workers on sexual harassment,” the spokesman said.