Mitsubishi Motors agreed to pay a record $34 million to settle claims that woman auto workers were repeatedly harassed on the assembly line.
The settlement announced Thursday is by far the largest sexual harassment settlement ever for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.The EEOC had sued Mitsubishi in April 1996, alleging that the automaker allowed 300 women to be groped and subjected to lewd jokes and behavior while working on the assembly line at its Normal, Ill., plant.
"Make no mistake about it, the Mitsubishi situation is not unique and no employer should assume that it can't happen in my company," EEOC Chairman Paul M. Igasaki told a news conference. "Other employers should take heed. EEOC will aggressively pursue problems like this."
The consent decree, which is subject to federal court approval, also requires Mitsubishi to provide mandatory sexual harassment training to employees.
The $34 million agreement covers women who have worked at the plant since 1987. The previous record for a sex harassment case brought by the EEOC was a $9.85 million settlement agreed to earlier this year by Astra USA, the American subsidiary of the Swedish pharmaceutical company.