Paulette Hyneman, a 43-year-old woman from Glenwood, Illinois, has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Ford, claiming she was the victim of repeated sexual misconduct and even a rape perpetrated by her supervisor and other co-workers at the Ford plant in Chicago.
Hyneman alleges that she and other women at the plant were subjected to unwanted advances, catcalling, and even being shown nude images and videos of pornographic material.
She is one of more than thirty women who have reported incidents of sexual harassment and gender discrimination at the Ford plant, leading to the company paying out millions of dollars in settlements.
Ford has released a statement claiming they adhere to a zero-tolerance policy against harassment and discrimination.
The lawsuit claims that Hyneman’s supervisor, Will Robinson, exposed himself to her and forced her to perform oral sex, and threatened to fire her if she refused.
In December 2020, Robinson allegedly followed Hyneman home and forced his way into her bedroom where he allegedly raped her.
Robinson then allegedly threatened her with termination if she reported the rape.
Hyneman attempted to report the incident by calling Robinson’s girlfriend, which led to Robinson confronting her in the workplace and punching her in the face.
Ford has since terminated Robinson, claiming it was due to him having a consensual relationship with Hyneman, a claim her attorney denies.
Hyneman did not file a police report, as she was told she needed to submit paperwork with the Chicago Police Department.
Hyneman alleges that she was subjected to sexual misconduct and physical harassment by her supervisor, Ron Woods. The court filing also mentions at least five other co-workers who allegedly engaged in similar misconduct, including Buck Owens, who is alleged to have made “unsolicited offers to take [Hyneman] shopping in exchange for sex” as well as calling her “pet names” such as “little britches”. Owens passed away in 2015.
Another employee, Torry Burrel, is alleged to have “forcibly kissed” Hyneman, and colleague George Fields is said to have “expose[d] their penis”.
Hyneman claims that she was fired by Ford in June 2021 in retaliation for complaining about the misconduct and for refusing to testify in a legal proceeding in a way that was beneficial for the company.
The legal proceeding was related to an altercation between two employees in June 2016, where one employee, William Cowart, was arrested and charged with felony aggravated battery after shooting two men. According to Hyneman, two supervisors wanted her to testify that Cowart was dangerous, and when she refused to do so, they expressed their displeasure.
Woods and Burrel were not available for comment.