Essay Sample on Sexual Harassment in Ford Motor Company

Published: 2023-03-03
Essay Sample on Sexual Harassment in Ford Motor Company
Type of paper:  Term paper
Categories:  Company Automotive industry Sexual abuse
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1722 words
15 min read

Ford Motor Company, an American multinational automobiles producer, has its main offices in Dearborn, Michigan. The company was established by Henry Ford in 1903. Under its Lincoln brand, the organization trades in commercial vehicles and automobiles. Ford Inc. also owns Brazilian SUV producer Troller and has 8% and 32% stakes in Aston Martin and Jiangling Motors, respectively. In recent months, allegations of sexual harassment against well-known figures in different companies are commonplace. In the wake of these allegations, most companies have deemed their repent procedures and policies on sexual harassment as insufficient. Against the backdrop of this rapidly changing landscape, Ford Motors Company has considered different ways of responding to sexual harassment allegations (Brinkley, & Brinkley, 2003). At the same time, Ford Company deters inappropriate behaviour proceeding forward and fostering an environment of inclusion, diversity, and openness in the workplace environment. Sexual harassment is against the law that is safeguarded in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. It is an unwelcome act, one that could make a worker offended, intimidated, or humiliated. Sexual harassment is present in the workplace when it occurs at work, work-related events, and between individuals having the same workplace. The two common forms of sexual harassment are quid pro quo and hostile work environment harassments (Hersch, 2015). In quid pro quo, workers are asked directly or indirectly to sexual advances in exchange for some benefits in the workplace. Only the managers or supervisors take part in this type of harassment because it needs a leading figure to give favour for unwelcome sexual invitation. The hostile work environment harassment creates an intolerable workplace due to gender-based activity or constant sexual acts.

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Brief Identification of the Situation

Regardless of the assurances that the Company would handle the sexual harassment incidents in the Chicago plants during the 1990s, Ford has continued to face lawsuits on sexual harassment. In the 1990s, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigated sexual harassment that resulted in a $22 million settlement. Ford Company has continued having issues with sexual harassers in the workplace. Late last year, EEOC reached a settlement of $10 million with Ford Company. In recent years, over seventy current and former workers explained incidents of sexual harassment in the Chicago assembly and stamping facilities (Thibodeau, 2019). New York Times published the article, leading to at least one worker reporting that Ford Company retaliated against her due to the report. Alongside the settlement in August, over thirty plaintiffs have brought class-action suit on sexual harassment that is presently in the federal court system. From the suit, there are claims that many domestic union representatives harassed female workers or obstructed related complaints. Even though the CEO and president of Ford Company apologized publicly for the discriminatory and harassment conducts, the practices have been at the center of the company's unethical conduct.

Identification of Legal Issues Involved

Some of the legal issues of sexual harassment include the unintended effects, otherwise known as copying. The injured and offended individuals have ways of overcoming the psychological impacts or regain healthy relationships after being affected by external relationship trauma. Sexual harassment violates one's right to privacy (Thibodeau, 2019). Whenever workers take part in sexual harassment practices, they tend to have their privacy violated. Immediate legal and psychological counseling is suggested because self-treatment does not release the stress or remove the trauma. Other legal implications include backlash and post-complaint retaliation. These convictions against victims are commonplace, especially for the complainant. Victims speaking against sexual harassment are considered troublemakers. In the same cases of sexual assault or rape, the victims are the accused. For Ford Motors Company, the legal implications include filing of lawsuits that hinder the activities or operations of the company both in the short and long-term.

Ford Motor Company's Policy on Sexual Harassment

Ford Company is intolerant of sexual harassment, and it takes these claims seriously and investigates them thoroughly. Ford Inc. has a detailed approach to preventing and addressing sexual harassment in its different facilities. These include necessary training for all new workers those addressees the anti-harassment policy at the company, and what the organization expects of the conduct of the workers. Ford also established an anti-harassment and retaliation policy, with various means through which workers report violations. Some of the available means of reporting violations include a phone application and an open door policy. Ford Inc. also has a comprehensive assessment of allegations about harassment with discipline. The policy at the company demands salaried workers to reveal familial or romantic relationships with other workers, or employment situations that they can influence (Crain & Matheny, 2019). Ford Motor Company's Zero Tolerance policy applies to sexual harassment and harassment on the grounds of race, sex, age, religion, color, sexual orientation, or national origin. Besides, the Zero Tolerance Policy forbids against retaliating against any person for making complaints in good faith of these kinds of harassments or for helping the company in investigating in these procedures.

The Zero Tolerance policy on sexual harassment protects all workers of the company, independent contractors, and visitors to the company's premises. The outlined harassments are against the policy of Ford Motors Company; regardless of it is carried out by a customer, agent, vendor, third party, or a worker at the organization. The company policy passes for sexual harassment regardless of the race, sex or related characteristics of the individual responsible, and whether the act violates the state, local, and federal laws (Bates et al. 2018). Harassment in Ford Company's Zero Tolerance Policy means carrying out activities in harassing nature, onsite or offsite, and has an impact on affecting the work performances of a worker. Some of the activities that amount to sexual harassment in Ford Company as outlined in the policy include offensive, unwelcome or abusive acts, demands for sexual favors, pressure for engaging in sexual acts, and unwelcome propositions. At the same time, Ford Company is against retaliatory actions against workers who make complaints about sexual harassment. The zero-tolerance policy protects workers from making harassment complaints in good faith, even when the company will find out that the complaint has no reasonable basis. All the complaints about retaliation or harassment are filed using the Complaint Procedure of the company that is handled with the desired confidentiality.

Review of Applicable Laws

The first applicable law is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under Title VII. In this act, discrimination in the workplace based on race, sex is prohibited. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a worker because he or she complained of discrimination, filed sexual harassment charges, or took part in investigations in a lawsuit (Hersch & Shinall, 2015). Unwelcome requests for sexual favours and sexual advances or related physical or verbal actions are behaviours that makeup sexual harassment when they are used in sexually coercing or creating a hostile work environment. The behavior must not be sexual, but it includes offensive comments linked to one's sex. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is another law violated in the sexual harassment at the workplace. According to the EEOC, it is illegal to harass an individual due to his or her sex. Harassment includes those defined in the Civil Rights Act 1964. These are the laws that are violated whenever there are incidents of sexual harassment in Ford Motor Company.

How Ford Company Handled the Situation

Ford Company started taking more steps in its Chicago Plants that was the basis of the sexual harassment. These actions included carrying out over 20,000 hours of training on mutual respect for the salaried and hourly workers. The organization also offered extra leadership and diversity training for its existing workers to enable them to understand the intricacies of sexual harassment in the workplace and possible outcomes. Ford Company has also focused on delivering extra training on the ways of properly investigating harassment claims for its Human Resources department. Through increasing the Human Resources personnel by over 30%, Ford Company has focused on offering extra investigations oversight and support (Thibodeau, 2019). These include a staff member who oversees both reports and plants directly to the company's representatives. Ford has also incorporated performance goals for senior plant leadership units and the human resource staff. The goal is promoting inclusion and diversity in the work environment and taking the necessary actions towards ensuring compliance with equal opportunity and anti-harassment policies. Other measures that the company has developed include settlements with the EEOC. The last cases have shown that Ford Motors Company had reached various settlement schemes for the affected parties, in a move aimed at gaining authenticity and winning over the trust of the public (Thibodeau, 2019). Ford has agreed with EEOC to offer effective methods for workers to receive financial rewards whenever an independent panel agrees with the complaints about harassment. However, there are other options available to Ford Company other than the compensation schemes, which would prove cost-economical and productive in the long run.

How Ford Company Could Have Handled the Situation

Ford Company needs to understand that prevention begins with awareness. The top leaders must be sure that the workers are aware of the different laws affecting the business at both state and federal levels. Ford needed to maintain employee handbook and alert workers on the changes or new rules. Ford should have provided an unpadded copy of the employee handbook yearly, and make sure they sign it in the acknowledgment form. The company should have also established a culture where workers are encouraged into reporting misconduct. There are various reasons why people do not disclose to their employers about an experience of harassment or when they witness it. These include the fears of retaliation or being fired demotion, and damage to reputation. Ford Company needed to make the workers safe, knowing that all harassment claims are taken seriously, and no single person is retaliated against for corroborating or reporting such acts (Bates et al. 2018). The workers' safety and wellbeing must be the topmost priority for the company. To avoid the escalation of issues, Ford Company needed to investigate all claims of harassment. The leaders needed to remain vigilant at all times towards safeguarding the organization and its workers. These issues led to lawsuits, and Ford Company needed to do more towards mitigating the effects of a lawsuit. These include the relevant insurance cover to protect the organization against possible employee lawsuits. All these actions lead to one broad solution to having a positive work environment, where open communication is valued among workers and senior management.

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