Hyundai was hit with a $5.79 million verdict last week for sexual harassment. The case was tried in federal court in Montgomery, Alabama. Alicia Haynes was the attorney for the plaintiff, Tammy Edwards. According to a Birmingham News article, Mike Swindle, a manager, made lewd comments and gestures, propositioned her, and even pressed his body against her. These activities lasted for five months.
Ms. Edwards was told she should get used to it and act like it didn’t bother her. She reported this to upper management, and instead of taking action against the manager, they moved her to a position she couldn’t physically perform. According the plaintiff attorney, the company had no policies in place to prevent these actions, and apparently, the jury agreed.
Unfortunately, these types of actions still occur in the workplace, and the only way to prevent them is for people to come out and report them and back each other up. Ms. Edwards didn’t take the position that she would just have to get used to it. She did something about it, and the employees who have "gotten used to it" should thank her for taking a stand. No one should have to endure such treatment when they are working hard to make a living for themselves and their families. We as a society should not tolerate or condone this activity either.
I am proud of Ms. Edwards, and I hope her verdict will stand on appeal which is likely where the case will end.