Judge issues injunction against Yakima grower

YAKIMA -- A federal judge has barred an Eastern Washington fruit grower from retaliating against its employees or attempting to pay witnesses pending the outcome of a sexual harassment lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Lonny Suko in Yakima imposed the preliminary injunction Oct. 26, ruling that potential intimidation of current and former Evans Fruit Co. employees could harm an investigation into the claims.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is representing seven women who filed suit in June against Evans Fruit and a former ranch foreman. The women claim they were subjected to unwanted sexual advances and to retaliation for rejecting them.

Attorneys for Evans Fruit and the foreman, Juan Marin, did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday.