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$10.1 million settlement in sexual harassment case at Ford plant

Some major news came out of Ford recently, as the motor vehicle company released a statement saying that they had settled a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit recently to the tune of $10.1 million. As part of the settlement, the company agreed to improved employee training and to bolster their sexual harassment policies and anti-discrimination policies.

The case stems from allegations from 2015. That year, many employees at a Chicago assembly plant complained of a hostile work environment that led to eight managers, including the plant manager, to be fired and replaced. There are also allegations from 2014 from four women who say they were groped at the plant, harassed by male employees, and subjected to unwanted sexual advances.

There are a couple of things to learn from this story. The first is that the policies imposed by a company are important, but they should always be improving over time. When companies get lax in reviewing their company policies, it stands to reason that such complacency will trickle down to their employees, and some employees may see the complacency as an endorsement of unprofessional behavior (even though it obviously isn't an endorsement).

The other lesson here is related to the above point: even when companies have safety and professional policies for their employees, some employees ignore them. Some work environments just become hostile because of a collection of toxic or lewd individuals. The company still bears responsibility in these cases.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Ford settles sexual harassment lawsuit at Chicago Assembly Plant for $10.1 million," Joseph S. Pete, Aug. 17, 2017

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