Ford Motor Company President and CEO Jim Hackett has apologized “on behalf of [himself] and the employees of Ford” for the pervasive pattern of sexual harassment and discrimination at the automaker’s two Chicago manufacturing plants, which was exposed in detail in a New York Times report earlier this week. In a letter to employees, Hackett said that the company would learn from its mistakes and do better, committing to “stamping out” such misconduct.
Ford in August reached a $10.1-million settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over a lawsuit alleging a pattern of sexual harassment and discrimination at its Chicago Stamping and Chicago Assembly plants. The case was, in many ways, a repeat of the late-1990s/early-2000s when Ford settled a similar case with the EEOC for $22 million, vowing to crack down on misconduct at the Chicago factories.
As is common with such settlements, Ford has not had to admit any wrongdoing, and specific details about the allegations weren’t immediately made public. However, The New York Times earlier this week published a comprehensive piece with a dozen female plant workers’ personal stories of experiencing sexual harassment and discrimination.
“I am sorry for any instance where a colleague was subjected to harassment or discriminatory conduct,” Hackett’s letter read in part. “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 that we will learn from this and we will do better.”
The letter continued: “There is absolutely no room for harassment at Ford. We don’t want you here, and we will move you out for engaging in any behavior like this. Our promise is there will be no retaliation against anyone who speaks up, and no one is above the rules, no matter where they are in the hierarchy. This is absolute. We have zero tolerance for any behavior like this, and we will stamp it out together.”
(Source: Detroit Free Press)