Top 5 Large Corporations Sued for Sexual Harassment
Large corporations and Fortune 500 companies are some of the biggest culprits in terms of fostering, ignoring and even encouraging a workplace culture of sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination. According to a report from Good Jobs First, almost all (99 percent) Fortune 500 companies have paid out settlements on at least one sexual harassment or discrimination claim since the year 2000. Below, our Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers found five of the top large corporations that have been sued for sexual harassment over the last several years.
This tech conglomerate is no stranger to sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits. In 2018, there was a media frenzy when the New York Times reported that Google had knowingly concealed a sexual harassment lawsuit involving one of its main employees and had allowed the employee to resign with a $90 million termination package.
When the news broke, thousands of Google employees around the world participated in a walkout to demand that the corporation change the way it handles sexual harassment cases, as well as how it promotes gender and racial equality in the workplace. Google eventually agreed to end the policy of settling sexual harassment and assault claims through private arbitration.
21st Century Fox/Fox News
21st Century Fox is at the center of the largest settlement won by an individual in a sexual harassment lawsuit against a Fortune 500 company: a $20 million settlement paid to celebrity journalist and news anchor Gretchen Carlson. This lawsuit, against former Fox News head Roger Ailes, alleged that he demoted her from the segment, “Fox & Friends” after she rejected his sexual advances.
Carlson’s lawsuit also claimed that 21st Century Fox did not respond properly when she reported sexist behavior by colleague Steve Doocy. After the groundbreaking settlement, the company created a new panel to oversee Human Resources, called the Fox News Workplace Professionalism and Inclusion Council.
Ford Motor is one of the Fortune 500 companies with the highest total penalties ($34.2 million) for sexual harassment and discrimination claims, and the parent company with the most penalties in the motor vehicle industry. In 2017, Ford Motor paid a $10.1 million settlement in a federal case led by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The lawsuit involved sex and race harassment claims for a group of individuals at two Ford plants in the Chicago area. The EEOC found proof to substantiate the claims, as well as evidence that the company retaliated against its employees who came forward about harassment. Ford Motor agreed to settle with the EEOC, as well as to initiate new training in anti-harassment policies.
The Kroger Family of Companies – namely, Kroger, Ralphs Grocery, and Fred Meyer Stores – has been the subject of many sexual harassment claims in the past 20 years. In 2002, Ralphs settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for $6.5 million, followed by three other sexual harassment settlements in 2008, 2014 in 2015. Recently, Kroger faced a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of a manager who took his own life after being sexually harassed and bullied by his coworkers.
McDonald’s is currently facing a class-action sexual harassment lawsuit that could end in millions of dollars paid in damages to current and former employees. In April 2020, employees filed a $500 million class-action lawsuit claiming physical and verbal harassment from customers and coworkers at various McDonald’s locations.
The class action states that McDonald’s has a systemic sexual harassment problem and fails to ensure a work environment that is free from harassment and discrimination. This is not the first time that McDonald’s has faced such allegations; in 2018, hundreds of McDonald’s workers led a protest to demand that company managers take stronger measures to prevent sexual abuse and harassment.
If you or a loved one has faced sexual harassment or abuse at any company, business, conglomerate or Fortune 500 company, contact an attorney for assistance today.