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EEOC Sues Bisconti Farms, Inc. For Sexual Harassment And Retaliation

Female Manager at Temple Mushroom Farm Sexually Harassed Multiple Female Workers, Federal Agency Charges

PHILADELPHIA - Bisconti Farms, Inc., a mushroom farm in Temple, Pa., violated federal law when it subjected female workers to sexual harassment and retaliated against one worker because she opposed the harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, from 2007 to 2015, a female manager at Bisconti Farms subjected female workers, who worked in various positions including as box counters, box markers, or mushroom pickers, to repeated sexual harassment. The harassment included frequent and unwelcome touching of female workers' intimate areas, including breasts and vagina, repeated and frequent slapping on the buttocks, and subjecting some women to unwelcome kissing. Bisconti Farms retaliated against one of the workers who opposed the sexual harassment by disciplining her, demoting her, or reassigning her to different and undesirable work.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment and discrimination. Title VII also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee because she opposed discrimination or harassment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Bisconti Farms, Inc., Civil Action No. 18-cv-4166) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

"Unfortunately, harassment of female farm workers remains a severe problem. The EEOC is committed to protecting vulnerable workers from sexual harassment," said the EEOC Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence.

The EEOC Philadelphia District Office Director Jamie R. Williamson said, "No one should be subjected to physical or verbal sexual harassment to earn a living. We encourage all employers in all industries to foster a workplace free from harassment and retaliation."

The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office is one of four offices in the Philadelphia District, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

Protecting vulnerable workers, including immigrant and migrant workers, and underserved communities from discrimination is one of the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) priorities. Preventing systemic harassment is another SEP priority.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.