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Claims against Napa Valley vineyard settled

A complaint brought on behalf of eight farm workers against three Napa Valley businesses has reached a settlement agreement. The sex discrimination and retaliation complaint filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Fair Housing was settled for $65,000 that the workers will divide between them.

According to reports, the complaint was filed against one company that had a policy of not hiring women. Another named company refused to provide male and female bathroom facilities. The workers all allege they were fired from the vineyard which was owned by Alsace Company after requesting the separate bathrooms. The work crew included both men and women. The vineyard's manager reportedly was displeased when the work crew showed up with female workers. He reportedly told investigators he had a policy of only hiring male employees to work at the vineyard.

The management company has agreed to both change its hiring policy regarding female workers. It has also agreed to report on all of its new hires in the next three years to the California agency. The contracting company agreed to ensure that all work sites will provide separate bathroom facilities for male and female workers, and the vineyard agreed to make certain separate facilities were located there as well as to refrain from discriminating against female workers.

Workplace discrimination is prohibited when it is based upon a worker's protected status. Workers who believe that they have been the target of workplace discrimination should be aware that there are strict timelines for filing a complaint. Those who have been affected in this manner may thus want to meet with an employment law attorney for help as soon as they have become the victim of the illegal action.

Source: Napa Valley Register, "Napa farmworker sex discrimination case settled," Jennifer Huffman, March 20, 2015.

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