A federal court has reopened a class action Ford discrimination lawsuit. The case had been dismissed in the past after a federal judge ruled that the Latino men who had filed the case had failed to exhaust all of their administrative remedies. The case focuses on hiring practices at the Chicago Assembly Plant, the same plant that Ford had just invested $1 billion into to completely retool for its 2020 Explorer.
The Seventh Circuit revived the class action Ford discrimination lawsuit that alleges the hiring process at the Chicago Assembly Plant discriminated against Latino workers. Seven men field the suit who applied to work at the Chicago Assembly Plant, but weren’t hired.
The Ford discrimination lawsuit claims that the chairman of the United Auto Workers union for the factory, an African American man named Alan Millender, favored the hiring of black applicants over Latino workers. The suit alleges that Millender believed that black workers were more likely to support him as the union leader. The suit also alleges that applicants are required to take a pre-employment basic skills test that discriminated against Latinos.
The scheme was allegedly supported by unknown Ford employees resulted in a lower percentage of Latino workers at the plant than is representative of the surrounding area. The exact percentage of workers at the Chicago Assembly Plant that are Latino isn’t mentioned, but the Latino population in the surrounding towns is between 15 percent and 46 percent.
A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit reversed the original ruling this week. The panel did rule that the fist count of the complaint was properly dismissed. The reinstatement focuses on the count that alleges race-based conspiracy, including the claims of pre-test discrimination.