Across the country, many cases of rape and sexual harassment go on among migrant workers that are never reported because of fear. A group of five female migrant workers in Florida who worked at Moreno Farms spoke up, alleging that they were the victims of sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a complaint on their behalf in a federal court.
The woman claim that their superiors at the produce packing company raped, groped and subjected them to sexual harassment. One of the plaintiffs alleges that the owner of Moreno pulled her away from factory and took her to a trailer where he raped her for 30 minutes. Two of the other women claim that the owner and his brother raped them. The other two plaintiffs claim that the men made inappropriate sexual comments and tried to rape them as well.
The EEOC filed a complaint on behalf of the women. A federal jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them a total of $17 million. The award was divided into $15 million for punitive damages, and $2,424,000 was awarded in compensatory damages.
The owners of the Florida packing plant closed its doors after the federal government began to focus on them. The regional attorney of the EEOC office stated that this sexual harassment case should send a message that women being treated this way will not be tolerated, and those who break the law will pay the price. According to a representative of the EEOC, this case is one of many victories for similarly situated women, and the agency is making attempts to combat this behavior to protect farm workers.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Five Female Migrant Workers Awarded $17 Million In Rape, Harassment Case", Laura Bassett, Sept. 10, 2015