Professional Service Agreement

Washington Employer Resolves Sexual Harassment Suit on Behalf of Latina Tractor Driver

April 09, 2018

Stemilt Growers LLC and its wholly owned subsidiary Stemilt Ag Services LLC have agreed to pay $95,000 and implement preventative measures to settle allegations that the Wenatchee, Washington-based organic tree fruit grower violated Title VII when it permitted sexual harassment of a Latina tractor driver and retaliated against her when she complained.

The employee, who was the only female tractor driver at Stemilt's Wenatchee orchard, faced sexual harassment by her direct supervisor on her second day at a new location. He drove her to a remote area and made sexually explicit comments, propositioned her for sex, and tried to kiss her. Trapped in a moving vehicle at an unfamiliar and remote location with no cell service, the employee asked him to stop and stated that she was only there to work.

When she reported the harassment to upper management, she was given a choice of continuing to work under that supervisor or transferring to a warehouse for a lower-paying job sorting fruit. To avoid further contact with the supervisor, the employee took the sorter position.

Under the three-year consent decree, in addition to the monetary relief for the employee, Stemilt will provide an anti-discrimination policy and annual training to all management and staff; institute complaint-handling procedures and hold management and supervisors accountable for how they respond to these matters; and post a notice about the case.