From Hollywood to Capitol Hill, and now to the auto industry. An in-depth investigation from the New York Times finds sexual misconduct is rampant at Ford's factories, specifically at the Chicago Assembly Plant and Chicago Stamping Plant, which employ some 5,700 workers, roughly a third of whom are women. Ford announced in August that it would pay $10 million to settle allegations of sexual and racial harassment made by female workers at the two plants. But "interviews with more than 100 current and former employees and industry experts, and a review of legal documents" show such complaints were ignored for decades, even after a similar $22 million settlement in the 1990s. Women describe cases within the last five years where male workers exposed themselves and made sexual advances. One woman says a worker bit her on the butt.
Union reps are also accused of harassment or ignoring complaints, for which women faced retaliation. A female worker who accused a man of groping her says she was "physically blocked by his friends from doing her work" and later found her car tires slashed. Bosses also retaliated against women who didn't accept their advances, dishing out harder or more dangerous work, women say. The Times suggests a lack of sexual harassment training during a hiring boom starting in 2010 is partly to blame, though Ford has tried to combat the issue recently with disciplinary efforts. Ford tells Business Insider that policies implemented two years ago also mean more HR personnel are on hand and new workers are given sexual harassment training. Ford "does not tolerate sexual harassment or discrimination" and investigates claims "thoroughly," the company adds. Read the Times piece in full here. (Read more Ford stories.)