Ford will pay nearly $540,000 to settle EEOC case at Ky. plant

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DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. will pay more than half a million dollars and provide additional training to employees to settle a discrimination charge by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involving its Kentucky Truck Plant.

The agency said Tuesday an investigation found “reasonable cause to believe that the Kentucky Truck Plant failed to hire applicants due to their disabilities,” and that officials screened out applicants based on criteria “not shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity.”

In addition, the agency discovered that officials at the plant failed “to use the results of post-offer, pre-employment medical examination in accordance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

The automaker will pay a $537,760 fine to compensate at least 12 individuals plus the person who filed the charge. The agency said it can also distribute the funds to individuals it has yet to identify.

In addition, the plant will provide written guidance and training to employees involved in the pre-employment, post-conditional offer medical exam process, along with one-hour training on the ADA to the facility labor relations staff, according to a release.

“Federal law protects applicants throughout the hiring process,” EEOC Indianapolis District Director Michelle Eisele said in a statement. “Companies must ensure that employees involved in the hiring process understand the provisions of the ADA, including the use of post-offer, pre-employment medical exams.”

In a statement, Ford said it has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“We are an equal opportunity employer and our hiring decisions are made without regard to race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, gender identity, veteran status or disability status,” it said. “Ford chose to voluntarily resolve this issue without any admission of liability with the EEOC to avoid an extended dispute.”

The automaker and the EEOC in 2017 reached a $10 million settlement related to sexual and racial harassment allegations at two Chicago plants. The issue was brought to the spotlight in a New York Times article that prompted CEO Jim Hackett, who assumed the top job earlier that year, to travel to Chicago to apologize and launch an anti-harassment campaign with the UAW.

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