Back in November of 2014, a class action federal lawsuit regarding Ford’s operations in Chicago brought to the surface allegations of widespread, ongoing sexual harassment. Both Ford Chicago Assembly, as well as Ford Chicago Stamping, have been implicated in the subsequent investigations.
The Detroit Free Press reports that allegations describe a work environment wherein many women have been made to endure unwarranted sexual advances and demands from male employees, often being demoted or otherwise disciplined for refusing. The women also allege acts of harassment and denial of overtime and benefits. So far, the class action lawsuit includes 33 women, and implicates the UAW’s Ford Chicago Assembly Plant Chairman as one of the offenders.
Ford Motor Company subsequently suspended the union Plant Chairman, who has since served his suspension and returned to work. Nevertheless, the UAW has filed a grievance against the automaker on the Chairman’s behalf, even as Ford, the UAW, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission all continue independent investigations into the conduct at Ford Chicago Assembly and Stamping. Ford claims that so far, just two personnel changes have occurred in the wake of these investigations, while the Free Press suggests that as many as eight employees have been replaced.
Previous EEOC investigations into the goings-on at the Ford Chicago Assembly plant have found evidence of some harassment and racial discrimination there, and the Chicago lawyer leading the federal lawsuit, Keith Hunt, has brought two similar suits to Ford in the past. The first of these was raised in 1995 against Ford Chicago Stamping, and the second in 1997 against Ford Chicago Assembly. Both cases were settled.