The Chicago Tribune reports that this past week Ford Motor Co. finally settled ongoing claims of sexual harassment, a move that could very well keep a class-action lawsuit from being pursued further in federal court.
After investigating the sexual harassment claims, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the settlement this week. They stated they had reason to believe that Ford employers sexually harassed female employees at the stamping and assembly plants in Chicago. They also shared that Ford personnel retaliated when the employees complained about the harassment. According to the agency, all of the aforementioned behavior violates the Civil Rights Act.
Have you been sexually harassed in the workplace in Chicago? Find a sexual harassment lawyer in your area today.
In a statement issued by Ford, they say their facilities have a “zero-tolerance, harassment-free work environment” and that they “chose to voluntarily resolve this issue without any admission of liability with the EEOC to avoid an extended dispute.”
However, one Chicago sexual harassment attorney, Keith Hunt, who is representing over 30 women in the harassment lawsuit against Ford, is none too pleased with what he refers to as a “backroom deal” that the carmaker used in order to avoid going to court for a class-action lawsuit.
Of the EEOC agreement, Hunt says he doesn’t believe it goes far enough, and he doesn’t think it had enough positive change in the Chicago plant environment in order to protect women workers. While he may not be pleased with the agreement, he still has his own lawsuit to focus on.
His sexual harassment lawsuit was filed in Chicago Federal Court and looks to certify a class that would include all 1,500 of the female employees who currently work at the Ford plant in Chicago.
In an effort to stop Hunt’s sexual harassment lawsuit from moving forward, Ford filed a motion this past Thursday requesting that the court deny class certification because of the agreement the carmaker and the EEOC had already entered into. Ford argues that the agreement will “moot the relief plaintiffs seek in this case.”
According to a copy of the EEOC agreement filed with the motion, the agreement lasts for five years and applies to the Chicago stamping plant at 1000 E. Lincoln Highway in Chicago Heights and the assembly plant at 12600 S. Torrence Ave. While the agreement does not spell out how many people are entitled to receive a payout, it does establish a settlement fund of $7.75 million (that can go up to $10.125 million) to cover associated taxes and awards. Claims forms will be sent to both current or former female workers who were employed at either Chicago plant from January 2010.
Did you know that one in three women are sexually harassed at work? Of the women who were harassed, only 29 percent reported the issue. Often, sexual harassment victims are scared to report the misconduct because they fear they could be fired because of it.
You don’t have to carry the weight of sexual harassment alone anymore. USAttorneys.com has some of the leading sexual harassment lawyers in Chicago who will gladly sit down with you and go over your rights, what courses of action are available to you, and what compensation you are entitled to.