Barrack, Rodos & Bacine Files Action Seeking Access to Ford Motor Company Internal Records on Racial Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

1/28/2019 - Barrack, Rodos and Bacine filed a books and records lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court in order to investigate Ford Motor Company’s response to widespread claims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination at the company.  BR&B filed the action on behalf of investor Robert Freedman under Section 220 of Delaware’s General Corporation Law for the purpose of investigating potential mismanagement and lack of oversight by Ford's board of directors.  The action seeks information about the board’s actions - or lack of action - in response to repeated instances and findings of discrimination and harassment at the company’s facilities, to determine whether the board breached its fiduciary duty by failing to adequately respond to the reported incidents.  Click here for the public version of the Complaint.

On Freedman's behalf, we sent a demand letter to Ford in January 2018 seeking to inspect books and records of Ford's response to claims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination after the company's $22 million settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1999 and a $10 million settlement in late 2017 described in a detailed article published in The New York Times about long-standing and pervasive sexual harassment and racial discrimination patterns of misconduct at two of Ford's manufacturing plants in Chicago.  In response to the January 2018 letter, the company produced some records, but, as alleged in the Complaint, it has not provided access to records regarding its response to the EEOC settlements or other settlements of claimed harassment and discrimination at the company.  Ford also has not provided the following requested information:

  • records related to the departure of two high-level executives in 2018 for inappropriate behavior;
  • documents underlying the claims cited in the New York Times article;
  • documents discussing or evidencing any consideration of the board or any board committee of potential or actual reforms that the company may have taken in response to the pervasive claims of harassment and discrimination; or
  • documents pertaining to verdicts achieved in court (including a $16.8 million jury award to a former employee in April 2018 following an 11-day trial) or other complaints or claims of harassment and discrimination made against Ford internally, in courts, or through private arbitration proceedings by company employees.

Over the next few months, the parties will take certain discovery and present the Court with pre-trial memoranda.  The matter is currently scheduled to be heard by the Court in late May 2019.

For more information about the complaint against Ford, please contact BR&B attorneys Jeff Golan at jgolan@barrack.com or Julie Palley at jpalley@barrack.com.