[4/4/18] Stemilt Growers To Pay $95,000 In Sexual Harassment & Retaliation Lawsuit

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Stemilt Growers, of Wenatchee, has agreed to pay $95,000 to a female tractor driver to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit.

According to reports Heidi Corona Arizaga worked for many years at Stemilt as one of the few female tractor drivers in the industry.

In a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Ms. Corona alleged that after being transferred to the Wenatchee area, her supervisor subjected her to sexual harassment.

After reporting the harassment to both Stemilt’s Human Resource Manager and the Regional Manager, she was reassigned to work in a fruit warehouse where she earned a lower salary.

Feeling Stemilt had retaliated against her and failed to prevent future harassment, Ms. Corona filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which in turn, filed a lawsuit in Eastern District Court of Washington versus Stemilt Growers and Stemilt Ag Services. Ms corona joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff.

Stemilt has agreed to pay $95,000, which includes about $2,300 in lost wages, $5,500 in attorney fees and about $87,000 in compensatory damages. In addition, Stemilt has entered into a three year Consent Decree to settle the lawsuit. That decree requires Stemilt to implement a complaint procedure that protects victims privacy and provides access to interpreters, investigates all complaints of sexual harassment and provides anti-discrimination training to all supervisors and employees.

In a statement following the settlement, Ms. Corona said “My hope for other women is that they are heard and valued in the workplace. I want to tell women- don’t be afraid to use your voice; don’t stay silent. There are people who will help you find justice. The truth will come to light.”