America’s Largest Onion Grower to Pay $150k to Settle EEOC Harassment and Retaliation Suit

by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

River Point Farms Supervisor Reinforced Domestic Abuse, Federal Agency Charged

PENDLETON - A Hermiston, Ore., farm which calls itself America's  largest onion grower will pay $150,000 to a female worker and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC's lawsuit charged that a seasonal farm worker for  River Point Farms faced relentless verbal abuse from her male supervisor from  2005 to 2010.  In addition to unwanted  sexual comments and requests for sexual favors, the supervisor constantly told the  female employee that women are inferior to men and that she should submit to beatings  by her husband, a co-worker employed at River Point.

More than once, the EEOC said, the supervisor publicly encouraged  the woman's husband to kill her.  After  her spouse attempted to kill her in September 2010, the supervisor blamed her  for causing her husband's arrest and fired her.   Although River Point later allowed her to return to work, the company  nonetheless laid her off much sooner than others and did not rehire her for  several months while others were hired in her stead, a retaliatory act for her  complaints about the supervisor's abusive and discriminatory treatment, the  EEOC said. 

"My supervisor told me I was less than a man, that my  husband should be allowed to beat me, and that I should put up with it because  I am a woman," said the worker.  "The EEOC  told me I have a right to work without having to endure that kind of abuse.  I hope other workers will know they can speak  out against verbal and physical harassment without fearing for their jobs."

Gender-based harassment and retaliation for reporting it  violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  After first attempting to reach a voluntary  settlement through conciliation, the EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. RPF Holdings, LLC dba River Point Farms LLC CV-12-01765-SU) in  U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. The worker was also represented  by private counsel from Legal Aid Services of Oregon and the Oregon Law Center.

In addition to monetary damages, River Point has also agreed  to rehire the worker, issue EEO policies in English and Spanish to all of its  employees; institute changes to ensure that its complaint procedures are  accessible; train its management; and hold supervisors accountable for any discrimination,  harassment, or retaliation under their watch.   In addition, River Point will report harassment complaints to the EEOC  for three years, and will not rehire the alleged harasser in any capacity.

"It is imperative that employers deal swiftly and  effectively with harassment," said EEOC Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo.  "Likewise, employers cannot make the problem  go away by punishing the employee who reports harassment.  We are pleased with the settlement and the  fact that River Point Farms is taking action to prevent future occurrences of  sexual harassment and retaliation in its workplace." 

EEOC District Director Michael Baldonado added, "With nearly  one-third of American women reporting being physically or sexually abused by a  husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives, I encourage employers to  learn how to respond to domestic violence when it impacts their workplace.   Train supervisors to respond quickly and  reasonably, and especially warn them not to take adverse actions against those  who speak out against abuse." 

The EEOC has recently issued a set of questions and answers  on applying federal EEO laws to workplace issues concerning domestic violence,  available at   

This case fits within two of the six national priorities  identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP): protecting vulnerable  workers who may be less familiar with their rights under equal employment laws,  and addressing workplace harassment through systemic enforcement and targeted outreach.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment  discrimination.  Additional information  about the EEOC is available on its web site at .


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.