Press Release 03-30-2021

Family Tree Farms to Pay $40,000 to Resolve EEOC Sex Discrimination Charges

Fresno-Area Fruit Farm Discriminated Against Employees Because of Sexual Orientation, Federal Agency Charged

FRESNO, Calif. – Reedley, Calif.-based fruit farm Family Tree Farms, Inc. has settled a federal charge of sex discrimination filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $40,000 and other relief, the federal agency announced today.
 
The charge made to the EEOC alleged that Family Tree Farms violated federal law when it disciplined two female employees and singled them out because of their sexual orientation, required them to segregate from other employees, and subjected them to harassment. The EEOC investigated the allegations and found reasonable cause to believe that Family Tree Farms violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Without admitting liability, Family Tree Farms agreed to enter into a two-year conciliation agreement with the EEOC. The farm agreed to pay $40,000 in compensatory damages and provide training on Title VII with a specific emphasis on sex and sexual orientation discrimination to all its employees and management. The EEOC will monitor compliance with this agreement.

 “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees from discrimination because of sex, which also includes sexual orientation,” said Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC’s Fresno local office. “It is imperative that employers are aware how serious the EEOC takes allegations of LGBT discrimination. We commend Family Tree Farms for agreeing to put in place measures to create a more inclusive work environment. I encourage other employers to review their policies and practices to do the same.”

According to the company’s website, www.familytreefarms.com, Family Tree Farms is a family-owned fruit farm that grows blueberries and stone fruits.

Addressing LGBT discrimination is one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

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