Ford Motor Co. is paying $3.8 million in one
of the largest settlements with the Labor Department involving
discrimination in hiring women or minorities at seven of the
Ford has agreed to compensate women and minority applicants for
lost wages for entry-level assembly positions at company plants in
Louisville, Ky.; Wayne and Sterling Heights, Mich.; Sandusky, Ohio;
Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo.; and Norfolk, Va.
Ford also will hire 100 women and minorities from previous
applicants for assembly jobs at the plants, according to the
It is the fifth-largest settlement by a company with the Labor
Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance, which oversees
federal contractors for compliance with the government's
affirmative action and nondiscrimination requirements, officials
said Friday. The department can cancel federal contracts with
companies that do not comply.
Labor officials said the agreement also ensured that Ford would
hire more women and minorities at all its facilities because Ford
agreed to employ them in proportion to the percentage that apply.
"It is significant that the company on a corporate-wide basis
will change its hiring analysis which will open a pipeline of
opportunity to women and minorities who have too long been excluded
from good paying jobs on the Ford assembly line," said Labor
Secretary Alexis Herman.
Ford did not admit to any discrimination in the settlement. The
company said it wanted to avoid the costs and uncertainties of
"We want to reestablish a good working relationship with the
agency," said Ford spokeswoman Della DiPietro. "We fully share
the same goals regarding diversity in the workforce. Prolonged
litigation is not in the best interest of our employees or our
shareholders or our consumers."
Most of the money $2 million is going to qualified female
applicants who were not hired at the Kentucky Truck Plant in 1993,
shortly after the facility underwent a major expansion.
At the plant, federal officials identified 318 qualified female
applicants who were not hired. Women composed 38 percent of
qualified applicants, but only about 25 percent of those hired for
the assembly jobs, officials said.
DiPietro said a majority of those 318 female applicants
subsequently were hired at the plant.
The other Ford plants are: Michigan Truck Plant; Sterling Axle;
Sandusky; Kansas City Assembly; St. Louis Assembly; and Norfolk
The consent decree goes into effect Saturday, closing a total of 10
discrimination cases involving Ford that federal officials started
at various plants and facilities from 1989 to 1998. There was no
formal finding of discrimination at the other three facilities.
The largest Labor Department settlement involving allegations of
discrimination by a federal contractor was $14 million paid by
Harris Bank of Chicago in 1989.