University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Williams v. Ford Motor Co. EE-MI-0192
Docket / Court 2:95-cv-71203-BAF ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Case Summary
In 1989, the plaintiffs filed suit against the Ford Motor Company in the Northern District of Ohio, alleging that the company refused to hire them on the basis of race, in violation of state law prohibiting discrimination in employment (Ohio Rev.Code Ann. § 4112.02(A)). Plaintiffs further alleged ... read more >
In 1989, the plaintiffs filed suit against the Ford Motor Company in the Northern District of Ohio, alleging that the company refused to hire them on the basis of race, in violation of state law prohibiting discrimination in employment (Ohio Rev.Code Ann. § 4112.02(A)). Plaintiffs further alleged that other less qualified applicants, and/or others who applied after them but were white, were hired; that they were given no explanation for Ford's failure to hire them and others similarly situated in the same manner; and that Ford had engaged in a pattern, practice and course of conduct of not hiring individuals who are black or African-American, and in giving preferential treatment to white applicants. After the plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification on October 30, 1995, additional applicants filed a tag-along action alleging that Ford discriminates on the basis of race in violation of Ohio Revised Code § 4112.02 through the use of its pre-employment test, which they argue had a disparate impact on African-Americans. On September 9, 1997, the District Court (Judge Bernard A. Friedman) granted defendant's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the action.

Plaintiffs appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on September 30, 1997. On August 9, 1999, the Circuit Court (Alice M. Batchelder) held that Ford demonstrated through empirical data that its pre-employment test had content validity as well as criterion validity, in that ''the selection procedure is predictive of or significantly correlated with important elements of job performance.'' The court found that although it may have had a disparate impact on African American test-takers, the test did not violate Ohio Rev.Code § 4112.02. The court further held that the evidence did not support the claim that Ford discriminated on the basis of race in choosing who would take the pre-employment test, as plaintiffs failed to show any discrepancy between the composition of the pool of actual test-takers and the composition of the pool of candidates for testing in the relevant labor market. The decision of the District Court was therefore affirmed.

Rebecca Eisenbrey - 04/12/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-area
Hiring
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Ford Motor Company
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are African-American applicants for unskilled hourly employment at Ford Motor Company's Lorain County facility in Ohio. They serve as representatives of a class consisting of all African-American applicants at Ford's Ohio facilities who, from 1989 to the time of the lawsuit, scored low on the unskilled pre-employment test and were thereby excluded from unskilled employment with Ford.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1999
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
95-cv-71203 (E.D. Mich.) 05/02/2005
EE-MI-0192-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Sixth Circuit Opinion 08/09/1999 (187 F.3d 533)
EE-MI-0192-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Friedman, Bernard A. (E.D. Mich.)
EE-MI-0192-9000
Martin, Boyce Ficklen Jr. (Sixth Circuit)
EE-MI-0192-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Murray, W. Patrick (Ohio)
EE-MI-0192-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Forbes, George L. (Ohio)
EE-MI-0192-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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