HR Expert on Ford Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

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Feb. 7, 2019—At the end of January, a lawyer who recently won a $16.8-million jury verdict against Ford on behalf of a former Ford engineer filed another employment discrimination claim against the company, this time for sexual harassment, reported several news outlets including The Detroit Free Press, ClickOnDetroit, WXYZ, and Dearborn Press and Guide.

Carol Laughbaum of Bloomfield Hills filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of DeAnna Johnson, 54, who started at the Ford Dearborn Truck Plant as a production supervisor in June 2018 after a career working for automotive suppliers, according to the report.

"From the outset," the lawsuit said, Johnson, who is black, was subjected to "unwanted comments and conduct of a sexual nature, and unwanted comments of both a sexual and racial nature."

This lawsuit comes a year after Ford apologized for sexual harassment at Chicago factories. The Ford president and CEO Jim Hackett had released an open letter, saying: “I want to take this opportunity to say that I am sorry for any instance where a colleague was subjected to harassment or discriminatory conduct. On behalf of myself and the employees of Ford Motor Company, who condemn such behavior and regret any harassment as much as I do, I apologize. More importantly, I promise we will learn from this and we will do better.”

FIXED reached out to human resources expert and founder and president of Inspire Human Resources, Jaime Klein to get her take on the situation.

Klein said there is much to be done in every industry to create safe and inclusive workplaces for all— from boardroom to factory floor. Regardless of role or zip code.

“Everyone deserves to go to work, get their direct deposit so they can fill their fridge with health food (which costs more than fast food, by the way) and take care of their families., “ Keline says. “The more organizations focus on shifting the culture and building no tolerance policies, the better the outcome for employee and shareholder alike.


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