$17 Million Sexual Harassment Verdict Against Produce Grower

A southwest Florida produce growing and packing operation has been ordered to pay more than $17 million to five former female employees in a sexual harassment suit.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that a federal jury returned a verdict Thursday against Moreno Farms Inc., awarding the women $2,425,000 in compensatory damages and $15 million in punitive damages.

The suit filed last year claims that two sons of the owner of Moreno Farms and a third male supervisor engaged in graphic acts of sexual harassment against female workers in Moreno Farms' packaging house. All five women were eventually fired for opposing the three men.

An EEOC news release states that the trial was limited to damages, because the corporate defendant defaulted and did not participate in the trial.

A telephone number listed for Moreno was not working.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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