by Patricia Schaeffer, Vice President-Regulatory Affairs

On December 20, 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that Ford Motor Co., along with two related companies and a national union, will pay $1.6 million and provide other remedial relief to a class of nearly 700 African Americans to settle a major race discrimination lawsuit.

Commenting on the settlement, EEOC Regional Attorney Jacqueline McNair said, “Employers must consider how all aspects of selection processes including written tests may adversely impact members of a particular demographic group.”

EEOC alleged in its lawsuit that a written test used by Ford, Visteon and Automotive Components to determine the eligibility of hourly employees for a skilled trades apprenticeship program had a disproportionately negative impact on African Americans. The National United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of American (UAW) was also a defendant in the case because the test was used to select apprentices in the Ford-UAW Joint Apprenticeship Program.

The settlement is pending final approval by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Spiegel of the Southern District of Ohio. The lawsuit is a successor case to the EEOC’s earlier suit against Ford and UAW, which was settled for $8.5 million in 2005 and covers additional people disadvantaged by the test in question who were not covered in that settlement.

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