Tomato grower DiMare Ruskin agrees to settle sexual harassment suit with EEOC

July 17, 2012 

Tomato grower DiMare Ruskin Inc. has agreed to pay $150,000 and to take steps to prevent harassment of farmworkers to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

DiMare Ruskin Inc., which has about 5,000 acres devoted to tomatoes in Manatee County and a packing operation in Hillsborough County, will pay two female farmworkers as part of a three-year consent decree to resolve the EEOC lawsuit, it was announced Monday.

The lawsuit charged the Florida tomato grower with subjecting two female employees at one of its Immokalee locations with unlawful sexual harassment during their three months of employment in 2008-2009. The company fired the women when they opposed the supervisors' conduct, the EEOC said.

DiMare Ruskin will establish a nationwide anti-harassment policy for employees to use to communicate complaints to the company, an EEOC press release said.

"Sexual harassment against women in the agricultural industry is a big problem," said Robert Weisberg, regional attorney of the EEOC's Miami office. "DiMare Ruskin took a major step in the right direction by agreeing to establish nationwide policies and procedures designed to prevent sexual harassment in the future."

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