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California winery sued by EEOC for harassment, discrimination

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A recent report from Bloomberg explained that a winery in Ukiah, California, has been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for alleged harassment and discrimination.

The lawsuit accuses the winery of allowing foremen to use racial slurs when referring to workers not born in the country. In addition, the suit relayed that the winery fired one worker after complaining about the harassment.

The terminated worker had been an employee of the winery since August 2004. However, after withstanding the harassment of the foreman on a daily basis for years, he complained to the company managers. As a result, he was immediately transferred to a less favorable shift and then fired in October 2007, the lawsuit claims. The EEOC further relayed that the foreman still works for the winery.

In return, the EEOC seeks damages for the fired employee and for a shift in policy at the winery.

The case highlights the importance of companies avoiding discrimination and the creation of a hostile work environment at all costs. Failure to do so can push employees to take action against a business resulting in an expensive professional liability lawsuit. 

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