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Two white managers for Ford Motor Co. are suing the automaker, alleging they were passed over for promotions in favor of women and minorities. The suits, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, accuse Ford of demanding that managers either meet quotas for hiring and promoting women and minorities or risk losing lucrative bonuses. David Murphy, Ford’s vice president of human resources, said there are no quotas per se, but a manager’s success at hiring and promoting women and minorities is a factor in their overall performance evaluation. “Certainly diversity is one of the performance issues for managers,” he said. “It’s definitely an impact on their bonus.” But there is no specific bonus tied to diversity hiring or promotion, Murphy said. Ford already faces at least two other lawsuits filed by current and former employees who say they were denied promotions or were terminated because of their age or for being white men. Those lawsuits target Ford’s one-year-old Performance Management Program (PMP), which is used to evaluate some 18,000 top managers, roughly 5 percent of Ford’s global work force. The plaintiffs say some women and minorities with less experience or inferior work records were given higher grades after the program began. In the latest suits, Ford Credit manager John Kovacs alleges he was repeatedly passed over for promotions, and when he sent a letter of complaint to Ford chairman William Clay Ford Jr. through his attorney, he was placed on paid suspension. Among the internal Ford documents included in the legal brief are minutes of a human resources group meeting where diversity is discussed. A summary of the discussion says: “We are not making the targets and that the LL2 bonus is at risk. Action include delaying the hiring, promotion and referral of white males unless there is a good business case to bring them in before year end.” The second suit involves Guy Bertram, a 49-year-old Ford management employee who says he was passed over for promotion several times because he is a white male. Ford is attempting to increase the number of women and minorities in management positions by about 1 percent per year and takes issue with the charge they are being promoted or hired solely on gender or race, Murphy said. “It’s ridiculous to think women and minorities are being promoted only by color of skin or gender. They’re promoted on merit,” he said. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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