Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.) and three other Democratic Congresswomen met with officials at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Wednesday (6-26) to urge the EEOC to closely monitor Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. The EEOC has filed a sexual harassment case on behalf of hundreds of women employed at the Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Ill. The lawmakers expressed disappointment that Mitsubishi “doesn’t appear to be in any kind of settlement mode, instead a total denial mode,” Schroeder said. Schroeder said some congresswoman who have spoken out against Mitsubishi have received phone calls from individuals telling them to end their involvement in the issue.
Meanwhile, National Organization for Women vice president Rosemary Dempsey met with a Mitsubishi official Wednesday in Tokyo and was optimistic about the organization’s campaign for a settlement of the case. Dempsey led a picket of the annual shareholders meeting Thursday (6-27), calling for a settlement and a commitment by the company to implement a program to increase opportunities for women and minorities.
Charging that Mitsubishi created a “hostile and abusive work environment” where female employees were fondled, grabbed and threatened with retaliation if they reported the incidents, the EEOC suit seeks back pay with interest and benefits. It also seeks compensatory and punitive damages up to $300,000 each for as many as 500 women.