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Vineyard Worker Sexually Harassed

February 13, 2010

Earlier this week, my colleague Emily wrote a post about wine which noted that only 14 of the 87 U.S. graduates of the Court of Master Sommeliers crediting program were women, but sexism in the wine industry does not only affect who becomes a highly qualified wine steward. Combine sexism with economic inequality (and possibly racism) and you get what happened at Giumarra Vineyards. A teenage girl working there was sexually harassed. Later, she was fired along with the farmworkers who protested her treatment. All the workers so mistreated are indigenous people from Mexico. According to U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru,

What happened to this vulnerable young girl was intolerable and illegal. And what this employer did to others who simply came to her defense was outrageous. Whenever workers alert their superiors about unlawful discrimination in the workplace, employers should act immediately to end the illegal mistreatment. If they don’t – if employers won’t protect their own workers from illegal harassment and instead retaliate against the whistle-blowers – then the EEOC will make sure they face the legal consequences.

The United Farm Workers are asking for people outraged by this incident to sign a petition which a delegation of women leaders will deliver to Giumarra on February 15th. Please take action now.

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