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Female sculptor files discrimination lawsuit against GM

Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press on

Published in News & Features

The lawsuit, though, is not only about Anger's ordeal, but also takes a stab at the automotive industry's treatment of women, claiming it still prefers men over women and isn't doing enough to change it.

For example, it cites a 2015 gender gap survey by the Deloitte consulting firm, in which respondents reported that the automotive industry was the least successful industry at attracting and retaining female employees. It also notes that men hold 73 percent of the jobs in the automotive industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"The automotive manufacturing industry, particularly the clay modeling and design sector, is one of the last old boys' clubs -- an industry and sector that was historically male dominated, and continues to be so," the lawsuit states. "Unsurprisingly ... women in this industry are significantly underpaid."

Anger claims she's one of many.

According to the lawsuit, here's what led Anger to federal court:

Anger was hired as a full-time, creative sculptor. Over the years, she has received numerous honors and awards for her sculpting and artistic work, including serving on a special team to create the GM test track ride at Epcot Theme Park in Disney World.

But over the years, she saw men being treated better, even though most of them did not have college degrees.

Anger was paid less than her male counterparts and was frequently shuttled between different design studios while the men were afforded more consistency. This, the lawsuit claims, helped men advance while she could not. It also took her seven years to be assigned a lead sculpting role, while new male hires with less experience landed these lead jobs.

There's was also sexual harassment to deal with, the lawsuit claims. Co-workers subjected Anger to lewd sexual comments, questioned her ability to sculpt because she is a woman, and told her that she is not welcome in the studio because she is a woman. No one, however, was ever disciplined or reprimanded for any of it, the lawsuit says.

Anger eventually spoke up.

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