Our mission is to protect the habitat of Puget Sound tidelands from the underregulated expansion of new and intensive shellfish aquaculture methods. These methods were never anticipated when the Shoreline Management Act was passed. They are transforming the natural tideland ecosystems in Puget Sound and are resulting in a fractured shoreline habitat. In South Puget Sound much of this has been done with few if any meaningful shoreline permits and with limited public input. It is exactly what the Shoreline Management Act was intended to prevent.

Get involved and contact your elected officials to let them you do not support aquaculture's industrial transformation of Puget Sound's tidelands.

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Taylor Shellfish Settles EEOC Discrimination Lawsuit for $160,000; New Training; and New Policies

Taylor Shellfish Settles EEOC Lawsuit over Race Based Discrimination 
(see EEOC lawsuit papers filed here)
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones has agreed to terms settling a discrimination lawsuit against Taylor Shellfish, filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for past employee Jeremy Daniels, an African American. Terms include payment of $160,000 and, of note, instituting new training and policies.

In papers filed September 28, 2016 the EEOC alleged that:
Defendant Taylor Shellfish Company, Inc. (“Defendant”) subjected Mr. Daniels to a hostile work environment based on his race, Black. The EEOC further alleges that Defendant retaliated against Mr. Daniels for opposing the discriminatory hostile work environment. Finally, the EEOC alleges that the discrimination Mr. Daniels suffered resulted in his constructive discharge. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief for Mr. Daniels, including non-pecuniary compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.

Details of the discrimination experienced described in the lawsuit included:
...subjecting Mr. Daniels to frequent, offensive and unwelcome race-based conduct including: referring to Mr. Daniels as "spook," "boy," "nigger," and "nigga"; telling Mr. Daniels that that the Maintenance Mechanic Supervisor's father used to run his "kind" out of town; and making disparaging race-based comments about the things that Mr. Daniels would eat.
In addition, the lawsuit noted that when Mr. Daniels complained about the "racially hostile" environment:
Defendant, [Taylor Shellfish] through the actions of the Maintenance Mechanic Supervisor, assigned Mr. Daniels more difficult and less desirable work, referred to him as a "nigger," "stupid," and "idiot" when talking to other employees, and eventually caused Mr. Daniels to be disciplined unjustly.
Settlement Terms
The settlement  terms include paying Mr. Daniels $160,000. In addition, Taylor will now have to institute new training and policies, something which Taylor had already done when being considered for "responsible" operations certification by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) in 2016, but which were apparently not sufficient.

ASC Certification is Not Good Enough for Judge Jones
Apparently, Judge Jones and the EEOC did not find Taylor's actions taken when seeking certification by ASC as a "responsible" company good enough. In 2016, ASC found that discrimination existed within the Taylor operation. In response, Taylor presented steps taken, including training and policies, which ASC was satisfied with. Judge Jones, as noted, apparently did not find them good enough for the case before him. Presented to ASC, and what ASC found acceptable for its "responsibility" certification of Key Peninsula are farms was:
All farm managers participated in HR training, including anti-harrassment. HR will maintain documentation on all discrimination and harassment complaints and any followup actions taken. They will work with Farm Directors and Ownership to ensure that policies are known and followed. HR Contacts have been distributed company wide via employee newsletter insert into paychecks and posted on all employee bulleting boards. Farm crews may utilize HR as an option in lieu of direct supervisor of Farm Director.
It is unknown what Judge Jones found lacking in Taylor's current policies, those policies which ASC apparently found to be good enough for them.

Contact EEOC if you are being discriminated against. It is against the law.
(click here for EEOC web site contact information)
The EEOC is in place to help ensure that company policies and actions taken by employees do not discriminate against you. Their website encourages anyone who feels they have been discriminated against to contact them. You don't have to put up with it. Especially when shellfish companies claim to provide good family wage jobs.

*Update 7/30: Despite the EEOC lawsuit in 2016, which ASC's evaluation firm was aware of, the evaluation of the Samish Bay "cluster" simply noted: "The company has a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy. The auditor also observed a diverse work force." It also noted "Discrimination training had begun for managers, although the effort was discontinued. As a result, an unknown number of managers and no employees have received such a training." With this, Taylor's anti-discrimination policy was found to be "Conforming with Observations". As noted above, the EEOC and Judge Jones felt quite differently.

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