EEOC Reaches $10M Settlement with Motor Vehicle Giant in Employment Discrimination and Harassment Case
Last month, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it had reached an agreement with Ford Motor Company to pay more than $10 million in an employment discrimination and harassment case. The lawsuit, brought by the federal agency, focused on alleged discriminatory and harassing behavior against black and female workers at two of Ford’s facilities in Chicago.
During the course of its investigation, the EEOC indicated that it had reasonable cause to believe that workers were subjected to sexual and racial harassment, and that Ford retaliated against employees who reported harassment or discriminatory behavior. The EEOC argued that this alleged conduct directly violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Ford elected to voluntarily resolve the complaint filed by the EEOC, without admitting wrongdoing or liability, to avoid a lengthy dispute in court. The conciliation agreement includes up to $10.125 million in monetary relief to those eligible for employment discrimination claims.
Under the terms of the agreement, Ford will also be required to conduct regular anti-discrimination training and distribute anti-harassment materials at the two Chicago-area facilities.
Laws Against Discrimination and Harassment
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that forbids discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Many states, including California, have enacted their own versions of anti-discrimination/harassment laws. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is stronger and offers broader protections against discrimination and harassment than the federal law under which the EEOC brought its case against Ford. Among other things, FEHA does not have a cap on damages for pain and suffering and punitive damages that the federal law does.
FEHA strictly prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on:
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity or gender expression
- National origin
- Physical or mental disability
- Genetic information
Harassing, offensive or derogatory comments based on sex, race, or other characteristics listed above is one common form of discrimination. Individuals who are subjected to these comments can bring claims for discrimination as well as separate claims for harassment. Other actions or behaviors that may qualify as discriminatory in the workplace, include:
- Unequal pay
- Bias in promotions or job assignments
- Bias in hiring
Employment Discrimination and Harassment Attorneys in Los Angeles and Inland Empire
Our Los Angeles employment law firm serves as a legal advocate for individuals who have faced employment discrimination and harassment, including cases where discrimination has been based on age, sex, race, disability, and other protected characteristics. With a team of highly skilled Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys who specialize in employment law, our firm has the expertise to successfully investigate, negotiate and litigate cases involving unlawful discrimination and/or harassment in the workplace.