The National Organization for Women today praised the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for reaching a breakthrough settlement agreement on behalf of hundreds of women workers at Mitsubishi Motors of America. "Not only will Mitsubishi pay damages to the women whose careers were affected, the company will also implement programs to see that such discrimination does not happen again," said NOW President Patricia Ireland. This proposed agreement represents the largest settlement ever negotiated by the EEOC in a sexual harassment suit.
After the EEOC suit -- and a similar now-settled private class action -- were filed, Mitsubishi developed plans to address the problems that lead to the complaints. "They've talked the talk, we hope this settlement will make Mitsubishi walk the walk," said Ireland. NOW chapters across the country organized demonstrations at Mitsubishi dealerships in support of the Mitsubishi women.
Ireland said the EEOC's participation in the 3-person advisory panel is significant. "The EEOC can be a very effective tool to fight sexual harassment. That's why NOW's Initiative to Stop Sexual Harassment calls for full funding for the EEOC." The Initiative includes steps that governments and private companies should take to eliminate sexual harassment. (See http://www.now.org/issues/harass/initiative.html for the full text of the Initiative.)
Most women are confronted with many on-the-job difficulties their male colleagues don't face -- sexual harassment is just one of them. As yesterday's Labor Department data show, women still do not receive equal pay for equal work. While women may have gained 15 cents or so since the early 1980's, employers are still pocketing 24 cents, as women are paid only 76 cents for every dollar paid to men.
"Sexual harassment and unequal pay are both symptoms of the same disease -- discrimination in the work force," Ireland said. "Threatened men sexually harass women to try to keep us in our place -- the antiquated perception of our place being anywhere we won't compete with our male counterparts for more money, more respect, and more opportunities."
Link to this release at http://www.now.org/press/06-98/06-11-98.html
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