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Maryland residents might take note of Ford harassment suit

A class action lawsuit originally filed in November 2014 involving four women from the Torrence Avenue Ford assembly plant in Illinois has been expanded to include more women from the plant along with women from Ford's Chicago Heights stamping plant. The complaint lodged against Ford Motor Co. alleges sexual harassment and claims that nothing was done to address the widespread harassment at either plant.

This suit involves claims that 33 women at those factories faced sexual assault, groping and requests for sexual favors. Women who complained about this treatment were reportedly not given overtime and placed in less-desirable jobs. A representative of Ford responded to the suit by saying that the company takes the allegations seriously and is committed to a harassment-free work environment, and the representative also said that Ford has a zero-tolerance anti-harassment policy. The company recently had some employment changes as eight managers at the assembly plant were replaced in the span of a few months.

Ford settled a similar suit by women alleging widespread sexual harassment in 2000, but a former female employee who was fired in 2014 after working for the company for 18 years says that no improvements were made after the settlement. She believes she was fired for speaking out after facing psychical and verbal harassment and says that the first suit only taught offenders how to change the way they harassed women.

As a case like this shows, sexual harassment may only be the beginning as one incident might lead to unfair treatment or even wrongful termination. If a worker experiences harassment on the job, an attorney could provide advice about possible courses of action.

Source: Industry Week, "Dozens More Women, at Second Plant, Claim Sexual Harassment at Ford", May 13, 2015

Source: Crain's, "Ford workers expand sexual harassment lawsuit against company", Micah Maidenberg, May 13, 2015

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