Z Foods, Inc., was recently ordered by a federal judge to pay $1,470,000 in damages in a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit stated that Z Foods allowed male supervisors to harass female employees and then retailiated against both male and female employees when complaints were made.

In this case, the court allowed the maximum penalty and fines by statute, in part because of a previous settlement by the predecessor of Z Foods in 2013.

In the previous settlement, the EEOC found that Zoria Farms exposed female farmworkers to continuous sexual harassment. The harassment took the form of conditioning promotions and employement on sexual favors, continuous sexual advances, stalking, and unwanted physical touching. Male employees who witnessed and complained about such harassment were quickly terminated. In the previous suit, Zoria Farms was fined $330,000 and agreed to a five year consent decree containing injunctive remedies.

The Los Angeles Regional Attorney said, “The solidarity that male employees displayed here in supporting and speaking up along with their female co-workers about the severe harassment is a critical component of remedying the pervasive problem of sexual harassment.” Standing up against sexual harassment in the workplace takes courage, the need to speak up against harassment is paramount and workers should feel like they can do so without reprecussions.

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