AARP Lends A Hand With Ford Bias Suit

July 9, 2001 ( ? The AARP says it will lend a helping hand to an age discrimination class action suit against Ford Motor Co.

The nation’s largest advocacy group for people over the age of 50 says it will provide research, free legal services and attorneys to litigate the case, The Detroit News reported yesterday.

About 60 Ford middle managers filed suit in a state court in May, charging that Ford’s Performance Management Process employee-ranking system is being used to systematically weed out older workers (See  Ford Workers Give Performance System an “F”  ).

Ford denies the allegation.

While attorneys for the plaintiffs and AARP are still completing an agreement to jointly handle the lawsuit, both sides say it’s just a formality.

Curve Grade

Under the policy, which Ford instituted in January 2000, 10% of employees receive “As”, 80% get “Bs” and 10% are given “Cs”. Those rated a “C” are not eligible for a raise or bonus and if they receive that mark for two years running, that is grounds for demotion or termination.

The policy was altered this year so that only 5% of employees must receive C grades.

The grading system has also triggered a reverse-discrimination lawsuit brought by white males (see  Managers Sue Ford For Reverse Discrimination  ).