OR Agricultural Employer Settles Harassment and Retaliation Suit

From the department of bad behavior comes news of a recent settlement between an Oregon onion grower and the EEOC. The complaint alleged that a female employee was subject to five years of verbal abuse by a male supervisor, requests for sexual favors and suggestions that she should submit to beatings by her husband. The supervisor also publicly encouraged the employee’s husband to kill the employee, which the husband attempted. The supervisor then blamed the employee for causing the husband’s arrest and fired her. The employee was then rehired, but laid off sooner than other employees, and was not rehired when the employer brought employees back to work.

The EEOC’s complaint alleged sexual harassment and retaliation. The employer paid $150,000 to settle the case and will be subject to various training and reporting requirements for the next three years. http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/5-13-13a.cfm

A reminder that this type of behavior is improper and should not be permitted seems rhetorical. Nevertheless, the case reinforces the need for employers to educate employees (including supervisors) about prohibited behavior, and take action when they become aware that harassment or retaliation is occurring.

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