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Glaser Organic Farms Settles EEOC Suit for National Origin and Color Harassment and Retaliation

Kitchen Workers Compensated for the National Origin and Color Discrimination by Management

MIAMI - Glaser Organic Farms, a Redlands-based retail farm owned and operated by Stanley Glaser, will pay two female kitchen workers $15,000 and implement important injunctive relief to settle a harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's suit, Glaser Organic Farms violated federal law by subjecting Debora Velasquez, who separately intervened in the case, and a fellow kitchen worker to a hostile work environment based on national origin and color. Velasquez, one of the kitchen workers with the darkest skin color and the only one from Guatemala, was called "burro" and "negra" by the kitchen manager and referred to as the "chocolate one" by her supervisors. The kitchen manager regularly told kitchen workers that "Mexicans are stupid," "Mexicans are lazy," and that Mexicans were ignorant and could not read or write.

Finally, the EEOC said, the company fired Velasquez for complaining about the mistreatment.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in September 2015, EEOC, et al. v. Stanley Glaser d/b/a Glaser Organic Farms, No. 1:15-cv-23642 (S.D. Fla.), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the monetary relief, Glaser Organic Farms will create and implement an anti-discrimination policy, and provide first-time bilingual training for its managers and all its agricultural workers on their federal rights against discrimination and retaliation. All the required training will be personally overseen by an independent third-party civil rights monitor for a three-year period.

The resolution also requires Glaser Organic Farms to post a notice in a prominent location so that all employees are aware of the outcome of this case and their federal protections against discrimination. Employees are encouraged to contact the EEOC should they have any questions and concerns regarding the workplace.

Glaser Organic Farms also agreed to maintain records of national origin and color discrimination and retaliation complaints and their investigation of such complaints. The decree highlights EEOC's mission to protect and educate those who may not be aware of their rights against employment discrimination.

"This resolution was particularly important to the EEOC because of our mission to ensure that especially vulnerable workers are protected," said the regional attorney for the EEOC's Miami District Office, Robert E. Weisberg. "Employers have a responsibility to make sure that all employees are respected and treated fairly in the workplace regardless of their national origin or color."

Michael Farrell, district director for the EEOC's Miami District Office, added, "The Florida farmworker community should know that the EEOC has heard their concerns and will continue to be their voice in the federal courts, especially against employers who seek to silence their employees."

One of the six priorities in the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2017-2021 is to protect vulnerable workers.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.