Ford Workers Give Performance System an "F"

February 15, 2001 ( - A group of white-collar workers have accused Ford of discriminating against older workers with a forced distribution performance rating system.

The policy, implemented a year ago, requires that 10% of employees receive “As”, 80% “Bs” and 10% “Cs.”  Those who receive Cs are ineligible for a raise or a bonus.  Those who receive a “C” two years in a row could be looking at a demotion – or termination.

Nine workers are challenging the Performance Management Process policy, alleging that it is being used to systematically weed out older workers.  The lawsuit claims that the employees unfairly received poor evaluations that led to economic loss, embarrassment and mental anguish.  The program is being applied to Ford’s top 18,000 managers and executives. 

Curves Ahead

Ford “curved” the system for this year’s evaluation so that only 5% of the affected workers would receive C’s, and 85% B’s and 10% A’s.

The suit was filed on behalf of Harold Siegel, 69; Charles Jerzycke, 54; Jane Laird, 53; James Mulligan, 57; Ronald Robertson, 52; Sanaa Taraman; 54, Pamela Tucker, 47; Ron Wojtas, 53;
and John Wyrwas, 60.

Ford declined to comment on the case, but spokesman Ed Miller said the evaluation program is not biased against older executives and engineers, according to the Wall Street Journal.