Mehri & Skalet and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) each filed lawsuits challenging Ford’s procedures for selecting apprentices nationwide. These suits alleged that, since 1997, Ford has discriminated against African-Americans on the basis of race in selecting apprentices. The two cases were consolidated in front of Senior Judge S. Arthur Spiegel in the Southern District of Ohio.
After extensive negotiations, the parties arrived at a settlement. The settlement resolved all claims in both lawsuits. We believe that the settlement was in the public interest and confers substantial benefits on the Settlement Class. The settlement provided monetary and non-monetary benefits to the class, as well as providing substantial systemic relief.
A formal fairness hearing to determine whether the terms of the settlement agreement were fair, reasonable, and adequate took place on June 1, 2005 and the settlement agreement was approved by Judge Spiegel on June 15 of that year. Judge Spiegel said “The settlement provides substantial monetary and non-monetary benefits to the class as well as extensive systemic relief. The new testing procedures will benefit not only the class members, but potentially also all employees and future employees of Ford.” The settlement became final and binding in August 2005.
The terms of the settlement mandated that Ford discontinue the previous apprenticeship test for use in selecting apprentices at Ford facilities in the U.S. The parties jointly selected Kathleen Lundquist, president of Applied Psychological Techniques in Darien, Connecticut as an independent industrial psychologist to serve as an expert to construct new apprenticeship selection procedures which are neutral on the basis of race.
Ford has also agreed to select 279 members of the Settlement Class, along with three Charging Parties to be placed on an apprenticeship program eligibility list. This aspect of the settlement agreement was designed to remedy claims for lost job opportunities for those previously rejected for apprenticeships.
To remedy monetary damage suffered by the class, the settlement agreement provides $2,400 to each Settlement Class Member who submits a properly executed Claim and Release Form and did not opt-out of the lawsuit.