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Woman Wins $21M From DaimlerChrysler

July 20, 1999

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) _ DaimlerChrysler says it will appeal a jury’s $21 million award to an auto worker who claimed the company did nothing to stop her from being sexually harassed on the job.

Judith Pickering, DaimlerChrysler’s assistant general counsel, said the award set ``an impossible standard and a dangerous precedent,″ and said the company ``cannot let this verdict stand.″

``Under these rules, every bad joke or overheard remark can become the basis for a multi-million-dollar lawsuit,″ she said.

Linda Gilbert, 39, sued what was then Chrysler Corp. in 1994, accusing co-workers at a Detroit plant of placing pictures of male body parts and obscene cartoons where she would see them, making sexually explicit remarks and once urinating on her chair. She said management did nothing after she complained.

Jurors on Monday awarded Ms. Gilbert $20 million for the embarrassment she said she suffered since starting work in 1992 at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant, where Jeep Grand Cherokees are made. The remaining $1 million is for lost future income and medical and psychiatric care.

Ms. Gilbert, who planned to return to work by Wednesday, said the harassment left her ``degraded, humiliated and embarrassed″ but has never weakened her resolve to keep working.

``It made it so I dreaded going to work every day, but I wasn’t going to quit,″ she said. ``I wasn’t going to let them push me out.″

DaimlerChrysler officials maintained ``prompt action″ was taken on Ms. Gilbert’s claims and accused her of not cooperating with them.

The company said that, in several cases, officials ``put employees on notice that this type of behavior would not be tolerated,″ and said it granted a request by Ms. Gilbert to transfer to another work area in the plant on a different shift.

DaimlerChrysler was created last November through a merger between Chrysler and Germany’s Daimler-Benz.

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