Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewisch Focus of EEOC Investigation
May 27, 2015
strong>Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) May 27, 2015 – Despite the EEOC being around for decades, racial discrimination and sexual harassment are still prevalent in workplaces across the nation.
A recent investigation at the Ford Chicago Assembly Plant has revealed racial discrimination and sexual harassment. A class action lawsuit, filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a group of female workers, alleges that they were continuously the recipients of lewd comments, unwanted touching, numerous demands for sexual favors and phallic symbols, carved out of Styrofoam or rubber hosing, left in their work areas. In addition, these women were witnesses of graffiti of a sexual nature on factory walls and of male workers exposing themselves.
The EEOC investigation burrowed deeply into the workings of the plant and probed into whether or not the women received different treatment or harassment, sustained retaliation for filing complaints, or if management discriminated against them on the basis of race, age (for workers over the age of 40) or religion. It seems the most recent report is part of a seemingly ingrained pattern of behavior that has been ongoing for over 20 years at the Hegewisch plant.
This is not the first sexual harassment lawsuit filed against this plant, nor the Chicago Stamping Plant in Chicago Heights. “In 2000, the EEOC found evidence of harassment. Ford shelled out $9 million to settle the lawsuit and paid $10 million training male workers on how to treat women autoworkers,” recounts Timothy Coffey, a Chicago employment lawyer.
Despite prior agreements and lawsuits, Ford appears to still allow a sexually charged, degrading atmosphere to exist that affects minorities and women in the workplace.
In the prior case from 2000, Ford even went so far as to set up a hotline to report discrimination, and monitored the two plant locations for several years for abusive behavior. It seems the lessons learned in 2000 were short-lived.
The EEOC’s most recent 2014 report indicated black and female workers suffered retaliation if they complained about discrimination on-the-job and faced being fired, being assigned to less favorable shifts, receiving less favorable assignments, and management denied them transfers and overtime.
“Workers that are in a similar situation need to reach out and speak to a competent employment attorney about their legal options. No one should put up with sexual harassment and discrimination in any form, particularly not at work,” says Coffey.
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