Statistics Show Older Ford Managers Get Bad Grades

November 9, 2001 ( - A disproportionate number of Ford Motor Company's fifty-something midlevel managers were given the lowest grade in the company's performance evaluation system in 2000, according to lawyers representing a group of Ford employees in a suit against the auto maker.

Ford performance data, analyzed by a statistician commissioned by the plaintiffs’ lawyers, showed that 15.1% of Ford’s 10,657 “LL6-level,” or midlevel managers older than 50 received Cs, compared to only 3.1% of younger managers.

The analysis shows that 9.9% of LL-6 managers, between the ages of 50 and 54 received Cs – that proportion rising to 16.7% for those between 55 and 59.

In comparison, of the younger managers receiving C ratings:

  • only 1.2% of LL-6 managers were between the ages of 30 and 34
  • only 2% were older than 35 but younger than 39
  • 3% were between 40 and 44.

Managers given a C under the controversial grading system were denied a bonus for that review year. Those who received a C for two years were subject to demotion or termination.

The system has been a source of distress for Ford’s white-collar managers since it was initiated early last year, and has resulted in several lawsuits charging that the rating process was a tool to weed out older workers (see Managers Sue Ford for Reverse Discrimination ).

The plaintiffs’ lawyers made the analysis of Ford’s data public following a number of settlement talks (see Ford “Repair” Talks Break Down )  with the company.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, a Ford spokeswoman questioned the accuracy of the data, noting that it is “based on raw data, and raw data are misleading.”

She further explained that someone under 30 years old at the LL-6 level would be a “high potential” executive and therefore less likely to receive a low performance grade.

Read more at  Ford Workers Give Performance System an “F” .

Read more at Ford Shifts Gears on Employee Grading System.

Read more at AARP Lends a Hand with Ford Bias Suit.