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Ford Worker Suing Company For Sexual, Racial Harassment At Dearborn Truck Plant

The plaintiff's supervisor allegedly touched her breasts and said, "sorry, my hand slipped."

January 18, 2019 - 5:44 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) -- An employee at Ford Motor Company's Dearborn Truck Plant has filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that her supervisor sexually and racially harassed her at the plant.

The lawsuit, filed by DeAnna Johnson, 54, claims that her supervisor groped her, sexually harassed her, showed her photos and videos of himself having sex with other employees at the plant, and frequently asked her to show him her breasts. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

The supervisor, identified in the lawsuit as Nicholas Rowan, was fired after an internal review, according to a story by the Detroit News.

Rowan, according to the lawsuit, was in charge of training Johnson on the job after she was hired in June 2018 and while training her, made lewd comments and actions on a daily basis.

The lawsuit alleges he would repeatedly ask Johnson, who is black, to "show me those black mounds [or mountains]”; and “show me those chocolate mounds [or mountains]." Rowan also called the plaintiff “chocolate jolly rancher.” When she asked him what that meant, he responded that she was "a chocolate treat that he wanted to lick..."

Johnson's attorney, Carol Laughbaum, told WWJ this is the "most egregious case of sexual harassment" she has ever seen.

"Daily, constant, repeated requests for sex, 'show me your breasts,' graphic texts, sending her pictures of his genitals; just relentless, severe, pervasive," Laughbaum told WWJ. "It was open and obvious. Everyone knew."

Johnson frequently ignored requests from Rowan asking her to send him nude pictures of herself, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that Rowan frequently had sex with many of the plant's employees and would often show Johnson pictures and videos of himself doing so, before saying, "oops, wrong picture."

He also allegedly touched her breasts and said, "sorry, my hand slipped."

Rowan repeatedly told the plaintiff he wanted to have sex with her, advising that he did not yet have a black woman in his “collection” and wanted to add her to his “collection,” according to the lawsuit. He also allegedly took pictures of Johnson without her permission, including pictures of her rear end.

There are three counts against Ford in the lawsuit -- Sexual Harassment/Sexually Hostile Work Environment in Violation of Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act; Racial Harassment/Racially Hostile Work Environment in Violation of 42 USC 1981; and Sexual Assault and Battery.