Ford Motor Company has launched a concerted effort to make clear its stance on sexual harassment in the workplace amid an explosive report from The New York Times detailing the specific self-reported experiences of a dozen women at the automaker’s Chicago Stamping and Chicago Assembly plants. The campaign includes a three-minute video with Ford’s Vice President of Manufacturing and Labor Affairs, Bruce Hettle, and UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles, which is playing on a loop at each of Ford’s 24 US manufacturing facilities, Automotive News reports.
“Harassment and discrimination undermine the very things we stand for: inclusion, diversity, and mutual respect,” Settles says in the video. “We are committed to making sure that you aren’t subject to that behavior in your work place.”
Bruce Hettle and Jimmy Settles go on in the video to inform employees as to how they can report any inappropriate conduct that they encounter.
Ford in August reached a $10.1-million settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over numerous complaints regarding sexual and racial harassment and discrimination at the automaker’s Chicago manufacturing sites. A similar story played out in the late-1990s/early-2000s, when Ford paid $22 million to settle a lawsuit related to similar complaints.
In response to the New York Times piece, Ford issued a statement outlining all the initiatives it’s taken to stamp out harassment and discrimination at its factories. Starting more than two years ago, the automaker began conducting more than 20,000 hours of “mutual respect training” for workers and salaried employees at its Chicago plants, with additional leadership and diversity training for salaried employees. The automaker also started provided additional training on investigating claims to its HR teams, and increased HR staff by more than 30 percent.
UAW President Dennis Williams was unable to comment on the sexual harassment claims in Chicago due to the ongoing investigation there, but he says the union has a “zero-tolerance” policy regarding such conduct, Automotive News reports.
“Working men and women have to understand that people ought to be able to go to the workplace without being harassed for any reason whatsoever,” Williams told reporters Wednesday.