$85,000 Settlement in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Egg Producer

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that a federal judge has approved a consent decree settling its sexual  harassment lawsuit against Galt, Iowa-based Quality Egg, LLC.  (EEOC v.  Quality Egg, LLC, Civil Action No. 3:11-cv-03071-MWB).

According  to the EEOC’s suit, Quality Egg, LLC, a now-defunct egg producer owned and  operated by the Austin “Jack” DeCoster Revocable Trust, violated federal civil  rights laws by permitting a former manager at its Galt, Iowa egg packing  facility to sexually harass at least two female former employees.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for  the Northern District of Iowa after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation  settlement through its conciliation process.

The  EEOC settlement was reached after Quality Egg confirmed that it no longer  employed any workers in its egg processing operations and agreed to pay  damages.   Under the terms of the two-year consent decree  entered by the court, Quality Egg must pay $85,000 to two former employees who  were subjected to egregious sexual harassment at the hands of Quality Egg  supervisors.

Quality  Egg, LLC, is one of several entities owned and operated by the Austin J.  DeCoster Revocable Trust in Galt, Iowa.   The EEOC previously sued a DeCoster operation at the same location and  Austin “Jack” DeCoster in his individual capacity in 2002.  That lawsuit, EEOC v. Austin J. DeCoster d/b/a DeCoster Farms of Iowa and Iowa Ag,  LLC, Civil Action No. C02-3077 MWB (N.D. Iowa), involved allegations that  the defendants subjected undocumented female employees to a sexually hostile  working environment, including sexual assault and rape by supervisors.  The lawsuit resulted in a consent decree  providing $1,525,000 in damages.  The defendants were required to promulgate  policies in English and Spanish prohibiting retaliation and harassment based on  race, sex, and national origin.

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