Mitsubishi Scandal in Normal, Illinois
In the mid-1990s, scandal rocked Mitsubishi, a conglomerate which consists of many autonomous companies, who manufacture myriad products. One of the largest of these corporations under the Mitsubishi name is Mitsubishi Motors, makers of many well-known automobiles, such as the Galant or Eclipse. Its North American branch, Mitsubishi Motors North America, was involved in one of the most significant sexual harassment cases in history.
In 1994, 24 women who worked at Mitsubishi’s Normal, Illinois plant accused Mitsubishi of allowing or even fostering a culture of widespread sexual harassment. Then, in 1996, a class-action lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), this time on behalf of around 300 women who worked at the Normal plant.
The male workers, who consisted of mainly American employees and managers, and Japanese managers, were accused of groping, verbally lewdly abusing, and even firing air guns between the legs of the female workers. Male employees and managers would go to parties away from work in which sexual acts were performed; the pictures from these parties (such as ones displaying oral sex being performed by employees and other inappropriate content) were set around the Normal plant.
After much difficulty both legally and in public relations, Mitsubishi was forced to settle each suit. In the first suit brought by the 29 women, the company agreed to pay out $9.5 million in 1997, while in the second brought by the EEOC, they were forced to give $34 million in 1998.
Mitsubishi, despite having had such significant accusations leveled against them, worked diligently to repair their system to avoid further incidents such as these. In the end, after having settled these suits, independent monitors hired by the EEOC to monitor Mitsubishi’s adherence to the settlement and adaptation of its practices lauded the company for its efforts. From the monitors’ final report: "Both Mitsubishi and EEOC should be extremely