A Farm Labor Contractor Improved Employment Conditions for Grape Pickers
August 15, 2018
For Immediate Release
DFEH monitored Prime Harvest Contracting for 3 years to ensure it achieved compliance with settlement in sex discrimination case
Sacramento – The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has completed a three-year monitoring period negotiated in a 2015 settlement agreement between DFEH, a farm labor contractor based in Fresno, and eight farm workers who filed sex discrimination complaints about their work at a Napa County vineyard.
The workers filed a complaint with DFEH in March 2014 alleging that the vineyard owner, a management company, and Prime Harvest Contracting provided inadequate toilet facilities for work crews and refused to provide separate facilities for men and women. The group alleged that after they complained, they were told either the men or the women had to leave. When they refused, they were fired. At the time of settlement, the vineyard manager acknowledged that his policy was to hire only men.
As part of a settlement agreement reached at a mandatory mediation in 2015, Prime Harvest agreed it would cease to discriminate against women, provide adequate toilet facilities at all of its work locations, and train its supervisors on sex discrimination and harassment, among other actions.
During the three-year monitoring period, which included DFEH visits to worksites, Prime Harvest established that it provided discrimination and harassment prevention; employed both women and men; provided adequate facilities for men and women; and provided employees with clear information about the worksite, including emergency contacts. The company also provided a handbook in Spanish and English which contained an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy and the terms of the 2015 settlement agreement with DFEH.
“Careful monitoring of a settlement can be as important a tool in eliminating workplace bias as the terms of the agreement,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. “In this case, we are pleased to report that the farm labor contractor took its obligations seriously and complied with settlement terms intended to promote a more equitable work environment.”
Martha L. Gomez, Staff Counsel, represented DFEH in this proceeding.
CRD is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. Formerly known as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the mission of CRD is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-fund programs and activities, and from hate violence and human trafficking. For more information, visit calcivilrights.ca.gov.
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