YAKIMA, Wash. — A Moxee hop grower has settled a federal sexual harassment lawsuit for $85,000.
In a consent decree signed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Yakima, Roy Farms agreed to pay the sum to Martin Barrera and other employees, as well as modify its sexual harassment prevention policies and submit routine reports to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for three years.
The company does not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement.
The commission alleged in the 2012 lawsuit that Barrera believed he had no choice but to quit his job after the company failed to stop a male orchard supervisor from harassing him with repeated sexual and threatening comments and touching him in a sexual nature, according to the decree.
Other current and former employees were at one time plaintiffs. In the end, the settlement went to four men: Barrera, Ricardo Rios, Raymundo Guzman and Rafael Iniguez.
Barrera and Rios both left the company before the lawsuit was filed, said Brendan Monahan, the Roy Farms attorney.
Guzman and Iniguez are still employed.
The supervisor who allegedly harassed the men is still an employee, according to EEOC attorney Jamal Whitehead.
Roy Farms denied all the charges before the case was settled.
The $85,000 represents about 10 percent of the original amount the commission sought before filing the suit, said Monahan.
Meanwhile, Barrera and Roy Farms also agreed to a separate settlement under the same lawsuit, but the terms were not disclosed, Whitehead said.
Roy Farms is a multigenerational, family-owned hop and orchard operation.