State Paid More Than $1 Million to Settle Age Bias Claims

The Boston Globe

May 22, 2006

BOSTON --Older public employees who were denied or discouraged from applying for disability payments after being injured on the job have been paid the benefits that had been wrongfully denied them under a settlement with the state, federal officials announced Monday.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said 15 workers were paid more than $1.2 million from the settlement, which was the result of years of litigation against the state on claims the retirement system discriminated against older workers.

The claimants also will share an additional $165,176 each year, making the likely total settlement amount to several million dollars, depending on the life span of the recipients, the EEOC said.

The EEOC lawsuit against the state was filed on behalf of workers who said they were discriminated against because of their age. The original settlement was announced in August 2000, and required the state to try to identify any older workers who might have been denied disability retirement or who might have simply been discouraged from applying.

The state has since amended its retirement laws to delete the provisions that discriminated based on age.

Disability retirement is given to people who are close to retirement age who are injured on the job and unable to perform their duties. It can last for the rest of their lives or until they recover.