DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — A lawsuit has been filed against Ford Motor Company alleging that a black female employee was harassed sexually and racially by a superior while she worked at the company’s Dearborn plant.
The plaintiff, Deanna Johnson, who is being represented by Sterling Attorney’s at Law, P.C., said she was hired at Ford as a production supervisor at the company’s Dearborn truck plant in June 2018.
Johnson alleges in the lawsuit that her production supervisor, Nicholas Rowan, was in charge of monitoring her performance and teaching her the job, but he subjected her to “unwanted comments and conduct of a sexual nature.” Rowan also allegedly made both sexual and racial comments toward Johnson.
He would ask to see her breasts by saying, “show me those chocolate mounds (or mountains),” the lawsuit alleges.
Other comments the lawsuit claims Rowan made include him calling Johnson a “chocolate jolly rancher” while saying he wanted to “lick” and “suck” on her, and asking her for nude photos. The plaintiff also alleges that her supervisor repeatedly said he wanted to have sex with her because he did not have a “black woman in his collection.”
When Johnson told a higher level supervisor, RIch Mahoney, in October 2018, he allegedly responded by saying she should “just f— him and get it over with.”
The lawsuit claims that after Rowan sent an explicit photo to Johnson, she became sick and sought medical treatment at Beaumont Hospital, and was absent from work for the a few days following her overnight hospital stay. When Johnson returned to work she reported the photo to Mahoney again, who then notified a higher level supervisor, Billy Markovich, who allegedly told her, “Oh, God – I don’t want to know.”
Johnson then reported Rowan’s behavior to an assistant plant manager at the Dearborn Truck plant. After that report she received a call from a member of the Ford HR Department, who attempted to investigate Johnson’s claims.
Johnson says the whole ordeal has left her with post traumatic stress disorder. She says that Ford has also cut off her pay, leaving her in “severe financial hardship” and she is unsure of her ability to continue to work for the company.
Ford Motor Company has responded with the below statement:
“Ford does not tolerate sexual harassment or discrimination. We take those claims very seriously and investigate them thoroughly. While we have not received this lawsuit, we are aware of the allegations. The plaintiff filed a Human Resources complaint in November 2018.
We launched an investigation, immediately suspended the employee that was the subject of the complaint, then fired him in December.
Ford also interviewed every supervisor who the plaintiff claims had knowledge of her allegations prior to her Human Resources complaint and found that the only supervisor to whom she complained immediately referred her complaint to Human Resources.”