Giumarra Vineyards, the world’s largest table grape company, harvests approximately 1 out of every 10 bunches of grapes picked in the US. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has just filed suit against Giumarra Vineyards for allegedly violating federal law by sexually harassing a teenage female farm worker and retaliating against farm workers who came to her aid:
According to the EEOC’s suit (EEOC v. Giumarra Vineyards Corporation, et al, Case No. 1:09-cv-02255), the young woman “was subjected to sexual advances, sexually inappropriate touching and abusive and offensive sexual comments about the male sex organ by a male co-worker.” The EEOC further alleged that after witnessing the sexual harassment, farm workers came to the aid of the teenage victim and complained to Giumarra Vineyards.
So the company fired the woman who was harrassed!
One day after reporting the incident, the victim and people who helped her were fired. The EEOC suit states they “were summarily discharged in retaliation for their opposition to the sexual harassment.” (More details in the EEOC’s press release.)
The United Farm Workers has started a petition. Dolores Huerta, who is the co-founder and First Vice President Emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO (UFW), will be leading a women’s delegation to hand the petition in on Monday Feb 15. The UFW already have more than 7,000 signatures.
I am astonished and dismayed at Giumarra’s disregard of the law. This is not medieval times. In the 21st century workers have the right to speak up to protect themselves and others. Giumarra is not above the law. It is astonishing that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was forced to file suit against Giumarra Vineyards for violating federal law by sexually harassing a teenage female farm worker and retaliating against farm workers who came to her aid.
As the world’s largest table grape company, your behavior helps set the industry standard. You should be ashamed of the example you are setting both in this case with the sexual harassment and retaliation and with your dismal history of worker protection. This behavior reflects negatively on your company and your Nature’s Partner label.
It’s time for your company to realize that you are not above the law. Stop the sexual harassment and retaliation for field workers who speak up or support the UFW. Your consumers are watching.
Please sign the Petition and help the women in the fields.