Automaker Ford in Hot Water for Not Addressing Widespread Sexual Harassment

Law Firm Newswire



Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) December 11, 2015 – What started as a class-action lawsuit against one Ford manufacturing facility has now burgeoned to include both Chicago manufacturing facilities, the Ford Chicago Heights stamping facility and the Torrence Avenue assembly plant.

The focus of this class-action lawsuit is the allegation that the company failed to take action against rampant sexual harassment in its Chicago-area facilities. The suit was first launched by four women working at the Torrence Avenue assembly plant and was recently amended to include the Chicago Heights stamping plant. The initial lawsuit included four women. The amended suit now involves 33 people.

“It seems rather evident, based on the material provided for the statement of claim for the lawsuit, that should the allegations prove true, Ford never dealt with any of the complaints it may have received,” said well-known Chicago employment attorney, Timothy Coffey, not involved in this case.

Details in the complaint allege women at both locations were sexually assaulted, groped and bombarded with requests for sexual favors. If any of them did take the initiative to complain, they no longer received overtime, were written up and given less-desirable jobs. Despite such revelations in the statement of claim, Ford says it has a zero-tolerance anti-harassment policy.

One assembly plant worker was fired after working 18 years at Ford, allegedly because she had spoken out about the sexual harassment that remained rampant at the company. She indicated that there was no improvement after the first $19 million class-action lawsuit was settled in 2000. According to other statements, the first lawsuit simply drove offenders underground and taught them to be more subtle in how they harassed workers. Employees could not even take their complaints to the union, as one of the alleged offenders was a union official.

In the aftermath of the expanded lawsuit, Ford relieved eight managers of their jobs and replaced labor relations officials, the plant manager and human resources personnel at the Torrence Avenue assembly plant. Whether the firings will result in a less hostile and volatile workplace remains to be seen.

“Sexual harassment is illegal no matter where it takes place,” said Coffey. “If you are enduring harassment in the workplace, seek experienced legal counsel to find out what options you have to deal with the matter and how to file a lawsuit seeking equity.”

Learn more at THE COFFEY LAW OFFICE, P.C. 351 W. Hubbard Street, Suite 602 Chicago, IL 60654 Call: 312.627.9700
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