Female workers at
Ford Motor Co.'s Chicago plant have accused the company of turning a blind eye to
"heinous" acts of gender discrimination, including catcalling,
groping and requests for sexual favors, in a putative class action filed
in Illinois federal court Monday.
The four named plaintiffs in the
suit, who are seeking to represent the 500 women working at the factory, say
they are subjected on a regular basis to hostile behavior that Ford routinely
ignores despite their complaints to superiors and calls to the company's
Among the allegations in the complaint were that women were:
Being subjected to jeers, lewd comments, sexual suggestions, cat-calls
and the like;
Being stared at by male employees who were focused on certain parts of
plaintiff's body and/or "elevator eyes";
Being subjected to comments or offers of sexual contact or males telling
me what they could or would like to do for me or to me (and other women);
Being subjected to men exposing their genitals and/or showing pictures
of their genitals;
Being subjected to men sharing or displaying pornographic images in the
Being ridiculed for having complained and/or being admonished not to complain
in the future and/or not to use the harassment hotline;
In addition, the complaint alleges that:
Sexually offensive graffiti is painted on the walls in the plants and defendants
did not take effective corrective action.
Female employees are referred to as "bitches" on an ongoing basis.
Female employees are also referred to as "whores," "sluts"
Male employees also place sexually offensive graffiti about female employees
in the men's bathrooms.
Male employees routinely undress in full view of female employees at various
areas of the plant.
Male employees fail to properly button their uniforms such that their pubic
hair is exposed.
Male employees would routinely stare at female employees in a sexually
Male employees would routinely make crude and lewd comments directed at
female employees, such as "Are you cold? I can tell that you are
cold by looking at your nipples."
Female employees are sometimes exposed to condoms thrown into their work
areas or tool boxes.
Female employees are subjected to whistles, offensive touching, gazing
and comments such as "what color are your underclothes?" on
a daily basis.
At various times, male employees would rub against females, pretending
as though they dropped something on the floor;
The suit also claims that male employees sometimes host widely advertised
sex parties at the plant where strippers and prostitutes are hired, and
recordings of which are distributed throughout the plant. The complaint
also describes behavior that often led to women being denied favorable
job opportunities for failing to perform sexual favors for their male
superiors on company property.
The upshot: Horrible things still are going on in the workplace, and will
only stop if the victims assert their rights in court.