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In a bit of news that may have slipped under your radar in the last couple of weeks, Ford settled a lawsuit with a group of female employees to the tune of $10.1 million. The allegations made by the women stem from a hostile work environment at a Chicago assembly plant that they claim fostered an atmosphere of sexual harassment and sexual favors.
According to the lawsuit, some male employees requested sexual favors from women at the plant, and that they would expose their genitals at work, either in person or with a cellphone picture. Ford responded by firing eight managers at the plant in 2015, including the lead manager.
It is also noteworthy that there were similar allegations made against Ford at the same Chicago assembly plant in 2000. 14 female workers were part of that lawsuit which alleged sexual harassment.
As a part of the settlement for the most recent lawsuit, Ford has agreed to amplify their sexual harassment training and to improve their anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies. This is one of the crucial takeaways from this story. Policies and training are important to encourage a professional and safe work atmosphere. But they can’t do everything. The individual employees and managers at the workplace need to do their part to uphold those policies and morals.
The other takeaway here is that when employees or companies fail to protect their workers from discriminatory behaviors or sexual harassment, they can be held accountable for their negligence.
Source: NWI Times, “Ford settles sexual harassment lawsuit at Chicago Assembly Plant for $10.1 million,” Joseph S. Pete, Aug. 17, 2017