A fall trial date is expected in the case of a former Ford factory worker who claims she was sexually harassed on the job leading to anxiety, depression as well as physical ailments. The lawsuit against Ford has roots in 2016 involved a female employee who worked eight years on the assembly line at its Dearborn plant.
Her career came to an uncomfortable end after a team leader constantly harassed her through sexual assaults and propositions and obscene comments, while receiving minimal support from Ford itself. The woman filed a lawsuit in June 2019, claiming sexual harassment, retaliation and the presence of a hostile work environment. While Ford reinstated her harasser, the company eventually laid her off. She seeks economic damages for trauma and depression.
Harasser reinstated, victim laid off
Despite reporting the incidents, the woman claims Ford failed to stop the repulsive sexual behavior, thus leading to an offensive work environment. As a result, the former worker suffered from depression, bodily injury, loss of reputation and humiliation.
Ford contends that upon an investigation, the company suspended and later fired the accused employee who was a team leader. However, after the United Auto Workers filed a grievance, the company reinstated the former team leader to a lower-paying position in a different location. The victim was not aware of this development
Also, the former team leader’s new job allows him to freely drive inside the Ford plant. The woman contends that union reps and her physician recommended she not return to work if Ford could not assure her that her harasser would not be present.
According to the lawsuit, the victim returned to work in July 2017, but was relocated twice as a result of retaliation from her harasser’s co-workers. Due to pregnancy, she requested a transfer to a different department that did not require heavy lifting. However, Ford allegedly would not let her join the new department. The reason: Her harasser would have to be reassigned. As a result, Ford laid off the victim.
Workers expect their employers to protect them, not punish them. Although this scenario may seem like an extreme case, it really is not. Too many workers throughout the U.S. are victims of such mistreatment. Employers must wake up, not hesitate and do the right thing.