DETROIT, Feb. 16 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network — Charges have been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Detroit against the Ford Motor Company by the law firm of Huizenga & Hergt. The charges request a finding from the
agency declaring that the company has not complied with Federal law in seeking
a release of liability from 4,000 employees selected for termination as part
of Ford’s restructuring plan.
Under Ford’s restructuring plan, employees are offered up to nine months
of additional severance pay if they agree to release their claims against the
company. The charge filed with the EEOC, however, alleges that the company
did not comply with the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, because the
affected employees were not provided a listing by age and job title of each
person who was selected for separation.
John Hergt, a partner in the law firm, explained that what Ford has done
is to limit the information provided to employees so that they are unable to
determine whether or not there is a pattern of selecting older workers for
separation. In some cases, Mr. Hergt states that the individual is provided a
listing which lists only one person selected for separation, despite the fact
that thousands of employees have been terminated. Limiting the information in
such a way, “does not comply with at least two Federal Court decisions that
have held that a company must provide a listing of all persons selected,” Mr.
There is still time for Ford to comply with the law and expand the
information contained in the lists given to terminated workers, Mr. Huizenga
said. If the company fails to do so, it runs the risk that employees who sign
the agreement may retain the money they received and file a lawsuit in Federal
Court for age discrimination under the Federal Act. Mr. Huizenga has
previously obtained a landmark ruling in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals
affirmed by the United States Supreme Court finding that releases given to
employees by the Ameritech Corporation were invalid.
This is an important issue, Mr. Hergt explained, “because it is likely
that many people will sign the release ignorant of the facts, and will not
explore their legal rights.”
John Hergt of Huizenga & Hergt P.C.
(248) 561-7435 (cell)