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Washington State mushroom producer taken to court for firing most of female workforce

According to the Washington state’s Attorney General, the state’s largest mushroom producer illegally fired most of its female employees because their family obligations interfered with their jobs. After this they were replaced with mostly male, foreign agricultural workers.

In announcing a lawsuit against family-owned Ostrom Mushroom Farms, Attorney General Bob Ferguson was joined by female workers who described instances of physical abuse in order to force them out. Ostrom violated Washington laws and the Consumer Protection Act, Ferguson said.

Maria Toscano, speaking in Spanish and through an interpreter, said the harassment reached “such a point that female co-workers have been hit.” Ostrom “doesn’t want us here because of the simple fact that we are women,” she said.

The company ‘systematically fired’ 140, or 79%, of its mushroom pickers between 2021 and 2022, most of them women, Ferguson said. Allegedly they were replaced by mostly male, foreign, seasonal agricultural laborers working under the federal H-2A program.

Source: bnnbloomberg.ca


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