Ford "Repair" Talks Breakdown

November 5, 2001 ( Negotiations between lawyers for Ford and attorneys for white-collar managers suing the automaker reportedly broke down over the weekend, according to the Associated Press.

The latest round of the settlement talks began Thursday, but company lawyers and attorneys for the employees have been conferring since early October, according to Dow Jones, citing people familiar with the situation.

The talks reportedly stalled this weekend when at least two plaintiffs walked away dissatisfied with the settlement offers on the table and Ford’s reported insistence that the automaker would only agree to settle all the lawsuits together, according to the AP.

Making the Grade?

Those suits revolve around a performance evaluation system that allegedly was used to weed out white male managers (see Managers Sue Ford For Reverse Discrimination ). That system, the Performance Management Process, was applied to Ford’s top 18,000 managers (see Ford Workers Give Performance System an “F”) before the automaker dropped or changed major elements of the program in July (see  Ford Shifts Gears On Employee Grading System).

Just prior to that decision, the AARP had said it would provide research, free legal services and attorneys to litigate the case in support of the managers bringing suit (see AARP Lends A Hand With Ford Bias Suit ).

Changing of the Guard

In an interview last week, the newly appointed CEO of Ford, William Clay Ford, Jr., said that having employees sue the company founded by his great-grandfather “breaks my heart.”

In addition to the departure of former Ford President/CEO Jacques Nasser, Ford has also dismissed David Murphy, who was Ford’s head of human resources and helped create and implement the performance evaluation process.