Two women, supported by their male co-workers, alleged they were fired from their jobs at a 38-acre vineyard owned by Alsace Co. LP in June 2013 after repeatedly requesting a second restroom as required by law for their mixed-gender crew, the department said in a press release.
Sex discrimination against female farmworkers is widespread in California, said Julie Montgomery, a department attorney. The agency has several other complaints under investigation, but most go unreported, officials said.
State regulators said the Alsace vineyard manager, who worked for Farm West LLC, only hired men and was dismayed when women showed up in the crew supplied by Fresno farm labor contractor Prime Harvest Contracting.
The Farm West manager demanded that either the men or the women leave, regulators said. The women were fired after they refused to leave and complained again about the lack of a separate toilet for them, the agency said.
Under the settlement, Farm West agreed to change its policy and allow the hiring of women, regulators said. It will report all hires to the fair employment agency for the next three years. Alsace agreed to ensure that women are not discriminated against in its hiring and that adequate toilet facilities are provided. Prime Harvest Contracting agreed to provide adequate restrooms at all work locations.
Alsace and Farm West could not be reached for immediate comment.