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EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OP. COMM. v. MITSUBISHI M. MFG. OF AMERICA

March 24, 1997

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MITSUBISHI MOTOR MANUFACTURING OF AMERICA, INC. F/K/A "DIAMOND-STAR MOTORS CORPORATION," DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McDADE, District Judge.

ORDER

Before the Court are Defendant's Objections to the EEOC's Third Proposed Letter to Mitsubishi Employees and Motion to Enforce Scheduling Order [Doc. # 51]. This is just the latest chapter in an ongoing war between the parties regarding proposed communications to the alleged victims of sexual harassment. A brief history of this dispute is in order.

BACKGROUND

On September 13, 1996, Plaintiff EEOC sent a form letter to all current and former female associates of Defendant Mitsubishi which stated in relevant part: "You should know that you are not required to discuss any issues relating to this lawsuit with Mitsubishi's Human Resource Department." On October 24, 1996, Mitsubishi filed a motion for clarification of the EEOC's letter requesting the Court to issue a corrective notice. In its Order of November 14, 1996, as modified on reconsideration on November 21, 1996, the Court ordered that the following notice be sent out on EEOC letterhead:

  Our letter of September 13, 1996, should not be read
  to suggest that you should not present any complaints
  you may have relating to sexual harassment, sex-based
  harassment, and retaliation to Mitsubishi's Human
  Resources Department pursuant to the company's sexual
  harassment policy. You should feel free to bring
  these matters to the company's Human Resources
  Department pursuant to the company's sexual
  harassment policy. Of course, you are also free to
  inform the EEOC of such matters at any time that you
  wish.

After EEOC's appeal from these Orders was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, the notice was sent out.

Soon after this time, Mitsubishi's human resources personnel began to hold scripted interviews of its employees regarding "certain claims of sexual harassment that had not previously been brought to the Company's attention." These claims had been revealed to Mitsubishi through discovery of EEOC's administrative files which related various alleged incidents occurring at least two years earlier. Mitsubishi conducted a dozen of these interviews on the representation that it was "ensur[ing] that there was no ongoing harassment" in the workplace.

The script used by human resources personnel at these interviews included the following questions:

  1.  Tell me about any incidents of sexual
      harassment that occurred to you that you may not
      have reported to ER.*fn1
  2.  Was your supervisor aware of it? Who was that?
      How was your supervisor made aware of the
      situation?
  3.  If your supervisor did not take action, why
      didn't you come to ER?
4.  What did you say to the harasser?
  5.  Did you keep a journal or any notes on what
      happens to you at the plant? Will you bring it in
      so we can have a copy of it? YES or NO
  6.  Is the behavior continuing today? When did it
      stop? Why did it stop?
  7.  What do you feel is the proper remedy for this
      allegation?
  8.  Have you ever witnessed sexual harassment of
      any other people? Who?
  9.  Have you ever witnessed sexual harassment of
      any of the ...

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