DETROIT (Reuters) - A Toyota Motor Corp. employee has filed a $190-million lawsuit charging that the automaker's top U.S. executive sexually harassed her and other executives failed to act on her complaints.
In the lawsuit filed in New York state court, Sayaka Kobayashi, 42, says Toyota North America Chief Executive Hideaki Otaka, 65, made repeated sexual advances toward her in 2005 when she was working as his assistant in New York.
"Toyota has a "zero tolerance" policy towards sexual harassment at all levels within the company and takes any allegations of this nature very seriously," Toyota said in a statement, declining any further comment.
Kobayashi, an employee in the company's corporate planning unit who was hired in the United States in 1997, was asked to become Otaka's assistant in March 2005, according to the lawsuit.
"Rather than the step forward for her career that she had hoped, the position has turned into a personal nightmare for Ms. Kobayashi," the lawsuit says.
Over the next few months, Otaka repeatedly asked Kobayashi to accompany him to lunches, walks in Central Park and on business trips, where he tried to engage in sexual conduct with her, according to the suit.