Judge OKs $10.5 M Ford Settlement

March 15, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The long-running legal battle over a controversial management review system at Ford Motor Co. ended as a Michigan judge approved a $10.5-million settlement with hundreds of current and former employees.

The settlement approved by Wayne County Circuit Judge Edward Thomas covers two discrimination suits, which alleged Ford’s now defunct management review policy worked against older white workers, according to an Associated Press report.  One suit charged Ford with age, race, and gender bias discrimination; the second only alleged age discrimination

The agreement between Ford and the employees was first worked out in December (See Ford Settles Appraisal System Suit ).

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Each plaintiff named in the lawsuits will receive up to $100,000, minus attorney fees, depending on how long they worked at Ford and other considerations. Claims have been filed by 436 current or former employees, said plaintiffs’ attorney James Fett. Thirteen people have opted out of the settlement so they can pursue their own lawsuits, he said.

Under the controversial evaluation system, known as Performance Management Process, managers received grades of A, B or C. A C grade could lead to the loss of bonuses, raises or promotions. Two consecutive C’s could lead to dismissal.

Managers performing the evaluations were given quotas for meting out each grade level. The plaintiffs claimed a disproportionate number of older white men received C’s and took the giant automaker to court (See Managers Sue Ford for Reverse Discrimination ).

Ford dropped the system in July 2001, replacing the letter grades with three classifications and eliminating the quotas. (See  Ford Shifts Gears On Employee Grading System at ).

“It’s a relief it’s over,” plaintiff John Streeter told the Associated Press. “For a lot of people still working at Ford, it will help heal some of their wounds.”

In a separate settlement in Virginia, the company agreed to pay at least $145,000 to three women who said they were sexually harassed at work