A federal jury has returned a unanimous verdict awarding a total of $17,425,000 to five former female employees of Moreno Farms, a Florida produce packing operation, who the EEOC claimed endured regular harassment and eventual rape at the hands of two supervisors.
It was “the worst case of mass workplace rape documented in Florida’s recent history,” according to the Miami New Times newspaper.
When the women filed reports with local law enforcement authorities, prosecutors declined to file charges. Then the women—all migrant farm workers from Mexico—were fired.
That’s when the EEOC stepped in, filing a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit on the women’s behalf.
“These assaults have almost become an accepted condition of working in the fields for a lot of women,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami office.
Beatriz André, lead attorney in the case, said, “Having long been silenced by shame and fear, this trial offered these five women the opportunity to give voice publicly to their experiences and their desire for justice.”