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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Giumarra Vineyards

July 1, 2010

U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GIUMARRA VINEYARDS, CORPORATION, AND DOES 1-10, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

Discovery Cut-Off: 6/30/11

Non-Dispositive Motion

Filing Deadline: 7/15/11

SCHEDULING CONFERENCE ORDER

Hearing Date: 8/19/11 9:00 Ctrm. 8

Deadline: 7/29/11 Dispositive Motion Filing

Dispositive Motion Hearing Date: 8/29/11 10:00 Ctrm. 3

7/6/11 10:30 Ctrm. 8 Settlement Conference Date:

Pre-Trial Conference Date: 10/3/11 11:00 Ctrm. 3

Ctrm. 3 (JT-15 days) Trial Date: 11/15/11 9:00

I. Date of Scheduling Conference

July 1, 2010.

III. Summary of Pleadings.

1. On or about July of 2007, Defendant engaged in unlawful employment practices at their Edison, California facilities in violation of Section 703(a) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). Defendant tolerated Charging Party Maribel Ochoa being subjected to a hostile work environment based on her sex (female).

2. Maribel Ochoa was subjected to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature by a co-worker. That conduct included, but was not limited to, repeated sexual advances; graphic requests for her to have sex with him; and offensive sexual comments such as telling her that he had a large penis and that he wanted to stick it in her.

3. The sexual conduct by the co-worker was unwelcome. Maribel Ochoa always rejected his advances and made significant efforts to avoid the co-worker. As explained below, Maribel Ochoa also demonstrated the conduct was unwelcome when she attempted to complain to Defendant's management in order to have the conduct stopped.

4. The conduct was sufficiently severe and pervasive to create a hostile and abusive work environment. The conduct was pervasive as it occurred on an almost daily basis. The conduct was severe as it included graphic requests that Maribel Ochoa engage in sexual acts with the co-worker and highly offensive statements by the co-worker regarding his penis and how he wanted to stick it in her. The fact that Maribel Ochoa was seventeen years old at the time the co-worker was making such vulgar remarks to her, heightens the severity of the conduct.

5. Defendant is liable for the sexual harassment by Maribel Ochoa's co-worker as the claimants complained to Defendant's management of the harassment, yet Defendants failed to take any effective, remedial action at all.

6. On or about July 20, 2007, Defendants engaged in unlawful employment practices at its Edison, California facilities in violation of Section 704(a) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a), when they retaliated against Charging Parties Maribel Ochoa, Delfina Ochoa, Jose Ochoa, or alleged similarly-situated individual Guadalupe Martinez (claimants) for engaging in a protected activity.

7. All four claimants engaged in a protected activity. On or about July 19, 2007 all four claimants complained to Defendant's management officials regarding the sexual harassment to which Maribel Ochoa was being subjected.

8. The claimants were all subjected to an adverse employment action when they were summarily terminated on July 20, 2007.

9. Defendant terminated all four claimants in retaliation for their opposition to the unlawful sexual harassment in their workplace. The terminations occurred less than 24 hours after the complaints were made and well in advance of the end of the growing season the claimants were scheduled to work through.

None of the claimants were given any reason for the abrupt terminations and no other similarly situated farm workers were discharged at that time and in that manner.

10. The EEOC seeks economic damages; compensatory damages; punitive damages; injunctive relief; and its taxable costs incurred in bringing this action. The EEOC seeks economic damages suffered by Maribel Ochoa, Delfina Ochoa, and Jose Ochoa, and Guadalupe Martinez. Specifically, the EEOC seeks their lost wages suffered as a direct result of Defendant's retaliatory discharge during July 2007. During this time, the claimants were earning approximately $7.50 to $7.75/hour. The EEOC seeks the difference in wages between what they would have earned but for the discharges and what they actually did earn. All the information necessary to make a precise calculation of those economic losses is in Defendant's exclusive possession and control. Upon receipt of such evidence, the EEOC will supplement its response in this regard. In addition, the EEOC seeks to recover prejudgment interest on all the identified claimants' economic losses calculated at the relevant IRS interest rate for underpayment of taxes and compounded quarterly, and a positive letter of reference for potential future employers.

11. Furthermore, the EEOC seeks compensatory damages for the emotional distress (garden-variety), pain, suffering, humiliation, frustration and inconvenience the four identified claimants suffered as a direct result of the discriminatory conduct complained of in this lawsuit. The EEOC seeks punitive damages due to Defendant's malice and reckless indifference towards their federally protected rights, and to deter any such future unlawful conduct. Accordingly, the EEOC seeks compensatory and punitive damages in the combined maximum amount permitted by federal statute, i.e., $300,000.00 plus economic damages.

12. Lastly, the EEOC seeks injunctive and equitable relief as reflected in its Complaint to ensure Defendant's future compliance with Title VII including, but not limited to, the implementation and/or revision of its anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation policies in languages best understood by its workforce, the hiring of a professional EEOC consultant, a notice posting in the workplace, periodic monitoring reports to the EEOC, and mandatory training for management and employees regarding their rights and responsibilities under Title VII.

13. Defendant denies the EEOC's allegations entirely. Defendant denies that Maribel Ochoa was in any way sexually harassed or subjected to a hostile work environment based on sex while at Giumarra. In addition, Defendant denies that Charging Parties Maribel Ochoa, Delfina Ochoa, Jose Ochoa (collectively "Charging Parties"), or alleged similarly-situated individual Guadalupe Martinez ("Martinez"), complained to anyone at Giumarra regarding the allegations in EEOC's Complaint, and denies that they were in any way retaliated against. Instead, each of these individuals voluntarily quit their employment at the company. Defendant denies that plaintiff EEOC, Charging Parties, or Martinez are in any way entitled to damages, and denies that Plaintiff EEOC is entitled to injunctive and equitable relief.

IV. Orders Re Amendments To Pleadings.

1. Presently, the EEOC does not anticipate amending ...


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