By Micah Maidenberg, Crain News Service
CHICAGO (May 21, 2015) — Female Ford Motor Co. employees have expanded a pending class-action lawsuit against the auto maker, claiming the company failed to address rampant sexual harassment at both of its manufacturing facilities in the Chicago area.
An amended complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago claimed the harassment isn't limited to the company's Torrence Avenue assembly plant on the South Side, as four women alleged when bringing the suit in November, but also is pervasive at the Ford stamping facility in Chicago Heights.
“It shows the problem is much broader than…alleged in our original lawsuit,” Chicago lawyer Keith Hunt, who's representing the plaintiffs, said during a press briefing yesterday. “What it really shows is this has been part of an ongoing and continuous environment in these plants that has never really been effectively remediated.”
Mr. Hunt said 33 people have now joined as plaintiffs — 31 of them work or formerly worked at the assembly plant, with the other two associated with the stamping plant.
In 2000, Ford and another group of female workers settled a class-action suit that also alleged sexual harassment was widespread at the assembly plant and the stamping facility. Mr. Hunt also was the plaintiffs' attorney in that case.
The amended complaint claims that women at the factories were groped and faced sexual assault and requests for sexual favors. Women who complained were written up, given less-desirable jobs and didn't get overtime, the suit alleges.