Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mitsubishi Motors Settles Racial Discrimination Suit

Apr 9th, 2001-NORMAL, Illinois - Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America last week agreed to pay more than $3.2 million to settle allegations of racial discrimination by plant supervisors and workers at a manufacturing facility in Illinois.

Under a settlement approved last week by a federal judge, Mitsubishi will pay $1.8 million to attorneys and $1.4 million to the ten lead plaintiffs in a class-action suit filed in January 2000, reported the Associated Press.

The workers, representing Mitsubishi’s other black and Hispanic workers, accused the company of suppressing black workers’ pay and promotion opportunities, and of regularly ignoring racial harassment, including pranks, slurs, and threats.

Other workers covered by the class-action settlement will receive funds to be determined by appointed arbitrators on an individual basis, according to the AP.

Mitsubishi also agreed to allow independent auditors to monitor the company’s compliance with the settlement and nondiscrimination practices, according to a company press release.

Plaintiffs’ lawyer Patricia Benassi last week praised Mitsubishi’s progress in combating discrimination at its Illinois facility. “It is evident that things have changed for the better,” Benassi said. “The mechanisms put in place under this agreement will advance this progress even further.”

A group of Mitsubishi’s female workers filed a similar suit in 1996, charging the company with pervasive sexual harassment. Mitsubishi settled that suit for $34 million.