Multiple Claims of Sexual Harassment Made Against Ford
Sexual harassment claims are at the center of a contentious dispute between numerous employees and two Ford Motor plants in another state. As any business owner in Maryland can likely appreciate, the situation has been attracting some unfavorable and unwelcome attention to business practices at the company.
The story started with four women filing claims of sexual harassment at the plant where she worked. However, the situation quickly escalated when reports suggested that "over a hundred complaints" have been filed by workers at the plants regarding sexual harassment.
According to reports, the atmosphere at the plants has been described as a "meat market" where women are allegedly being harassed and threatened regularly by other workers. Those who want to file a complaint with labor relations are hesitant to do so because they can easily be identified as a person reporting the behavior. And those who do file a complaint are allegedly fearful of retaliatory behaviors.
The situation is not the first of its kind for the company. Multiple lawsuits citing sexual harassment have been filed against Ford in the past, and part of the resolutions of those previous cases included improved sexual harassment training for employees and employers.
Unfortunately, if the reports are accurate, it seems clear that the new measures are still inadequate.
Sexual harassment claims can be very damaging to a company's reputation; they can also be costly to defend against these claims, especially when there are numerous parties filing lawsuits. It can also be a strong indicator that a company's system of preventing sexual harassment and enforcing workplace policies is seriously lacking or ineffective.
Without adequate policies in place to prevent violations of employee rights, employers could wind up facing a situation similar to Ford's. And for companies that are not nearly as large and profitable as Ford, extensive litigation for numerous claims can be ruinous. Business owners in Maryland who may be on the receiving end of one or more sexual harassment claims would be wise to speak with an attorney to explore the potential options for negotiating a settlement, pursuing a dismissal or defending allegations in court.
Source: In These Times, "'Over a Hundred' Female Auto Workers Claim Assault, Sexual Harassment at Ford Plant," Kevin Solari