Ford to Pay African American Employees $8.55 Million, Provide 280 Apprenticeships, and Revamp Selection Method for Skilled Trade Apprenticeship Program
CINCINNATI - During a Fairness Hearing today in federal district court, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Ford Motor Company, the United Auto Workers (UAW), and private plaintiffs' attorneys reiterated their approval of and commitment to sweeping changes mandated by the settlement of a class action race discrimination case against Ford on behalf of thousands of African American employees nationwide.
The settlement, which is pending final approval, will resolve litigation against Ford and the UAW by the EEOC and private plaintiffs on behalf of a class of African American hourly employees at Ford who were denied skilled trades apprenticeships based on a written application test that had a disparate impact on them. Judge Arthur Spiegel of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division, preliminarily approved the comprehensive settlement in February 2005.
The settlement will apply to all Ford facilities nationwide and provide significant advancement opportunities for African American employees to apprentice for skilled craft positions, such as electrician, pipefitter, machine repair and other jobs. Monetary relief will include approximately $8.55 million for 13 African American Ford employees who filed Charges of Discrimination with the EEOC offices in Cincinnati and Cleveland, as well as a class of about 3,400 African Americans nationwide who have taken the test since January 1, 1997, and were not placed on the Ford apprentice list. Non-monetary relief will include placing 280 African American test takers on apprentice lists and developing new selection methods for Ford's apprenticeship program by a jointly selected expert with detailed reporting and monitoring provisions.
"The EEOC is pleased to have been able to work cooperatively with Ford and the United Auto Workers in reaching a mutually satisfactory resolution to this matter," said Commission General Counsel Eric Dreiband. "Employers must consider how all aspects of selection processes, including written tests, may adversely impact members of a particular demographic group."
Upon final approval, the settlement will resolve the EEOC's lawsuit against Ford, the National United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), the UAW's Local 863, and both the local and national Ford-UAW Joint Apprenticeship Committee. The EEOC's suit was filed on December 27, 2004. The settlement will also resolve the class members' suit against Ford and the UAW, for which they are represented by private counsel (Robinson v. Ford Motor Company). The text of the settlement agreement is available online at http://www.findjustice.com/ms/practice/civil/Ford/index.htm
The EEOC is the federal government agency responsible for enforcing the nation's anti- discrimination laws in the workplace based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, retaliation, age and disability. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.