For at least 18 months, female workers at a central Wisconsin ginseng farm faced sexual harassment, discrimination based on their national origin and retaliation after their employer fired them for complaining about their treatment. Now, it is a federal court case.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a federal lawsuit on Sept. 14 against Baumann Farms of Wausau. The EEOC filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Western Wisconsin in Madison.
Inappropriate touching, told to speak only English
From early 2018 until their August 2019 termination, the female workers were subjected to lewd messages from a male supervisor who sought sex from them. The lawsuit also alleges the supervisor sent them inappropriate photos and grabbed and hugged them while they worked. When the women threatened to report him, they were fired.
In another part of the lawsuit, the workers claimed that their employer required employees to speak only English when talking with managers or on the radio or phone. The lawsuit contends that such a development discriminates against employees of Hispanic origin.
Maintain thorough records of incidents
From discrimination and sexual harassment to retaliation, this case addresses many legitimate complaints that workers have against their employers. If you find yourself the victim of such unlawful and unseemly behavior, here are some crucial things to do:
- Keep a detailed record of every incident. Include times, dates, narratives on what occurred and names of any witnesses. Make sure you keep these records on your home computer, not a work computer. Keep any notebooks or journals in a safe place, too.
- Save any communications such as threatening and inappropriate emails, texts and voicemails. Some of these harassing communiques may be on social media as well.
- Contact your supervisor or human resources department. However, in some cases such as this one, the supervisor was the predator. Also, human resources may be looking out more for the company, rather than employees. In these situations, find a trustworthy ally who will listen to you and provide you with direction.
You deserve to work at a place that is free of sexual harassment and racial and national origin discrimination. A legal advocate such as Alan C. Olson and Associates will stand in your corner and guide you through these difficult times.