Former Labor Secretary Lynn Martin toured a Mitsubishi assembly plant in her new job investigating allegations of widespread sexual harassment by the company.
Martin, hired Tuesday by Mitsubishi Motors to review policies at its U.S. subsidiary, said she will try to "make this the absolute model for plants for the next decade."Earlier, at a news conference in Chicago, she said she "will have complete independence. I do not stand here today to explain or exculpate Mitsubishi from the charges brought against the company."
The federal government is suing Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America Inc., saying management permitted harassment against hundreds of its female workers, mostly on the plant's production floor.
Martin declined to say how much she was being paid by Mitsubishi.
Flanked by company chairman Tsuneo Ohinouye, Martin said she would assemble a team of fact-finding experts and then present Mitsubishi with a blueprint to ensure female workers are treated properly.
Ohinouye said the company has never tolerated sexual harassment. He acknowledged that some harassment may have taken place in the plant, "but not on the scale that has been publicized."
The plant employs about 3,900 people, including 700 women.
Martin's hiring does not affect the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's lawsuit against Mitsubishi, EEOC Chairman Gilbert Casellas said.
Martin, a former Illinois congresswoman, served as labor secretary under President George Bush. She is an adviser to the management consulting firm Deloitte & Touche and teaches at Northwestern University.