Ford Motor Company has agreed to settle EEOC harassment and retaliation claims for $10.125 million. It has also agreed to a plan for training and monitoring overseen by the federal agency.
The allegations involve both sexual and racial harassment complaints at two Chicago-area Ford plants. A class of female and African-American employees complained of the discrimination, and the EEOC determined it was likely some were retaliated against when they complained about it. Both harassment and retaliation of this type violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Because the company has voluntarily entered into a conciliation agreement, no details about the harassment and retaliation were made public. The EEOC said only that it investigated the incidents and found reasonable cause to believe the allegations. Ford has not admitted any wrongdoing.
The $10.125 million will be distributed among eligible class members by a three-person panel, which will also review internal complaint processes and manager training. Additionally, Ford has committed to providing regular training at the two plants, the Chicago Assembly Plant and the Chicago Stamping Plant. The conciliation agreement lasts for five years and commits Ford to:
- Ongoing dissemination of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies to all workers and new hires
- Reporting any formal employee discrimination and harassment complaints to the EEOC
- Managerial monitoring of the workforce for any allegations of racial or sexual harassment or related discrimination
The EEOC's area district director praised Ford for taking its responsibilities seriously.
"Ford Motor Company has worked with the EEOC to address complaints of harassment and discrimination at these two facilities and to implement policies and procedures that will effectively prevent future harassment or provide prompt action when harassment complaints arise," she said.
"Ford does not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind; we are fully committed to a zero-tolerance, harassment-free work environment at all facilities," the company said in a statement.