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October 05, 2001
$475G Settlement in Early-Retirement Suit
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hiladelphia school district, accused of illegally structuring its early-retirement incentives to pay less to older teachers, has agreed to pay a court settlement of more than $475,000.

The payment would resolve a lawsuit brought against the Coatesville Area School District by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC charged that Coatesville's early-retirement bonuses were structured on a sliding scale that paid increasingly smaller amounts as workers neared the traditional retirement age, according to the Legal Intelligencer, a law journal.

In a consent decree, the district has promised to abandon the policy and to compensate 75 teachers who retired between January 1997 and December 2000 and received reduced benefits.

The proposed settlement still needs approval from by U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno.

The 75 teachers will receive sums ranging from $349 to $15,361, the Intelligencer reports, citing court documents.

The consent decree says the school district promises not to establish a plan that "reduces, limits, or eliminates cash-based benefits under early-retirement incentive plans on the basis of age."

The district promises to provide by the end of the year all of its managerial employees with at least three hours of training on an employer's legal obligations under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, with an emphasis on ensuring that no employee is retaliated against for exercising his or her rights under the law.

The teachers' union also promised to advise other local unions around the state about the case and to urge them not to enter into agreements that reduce or eliminate early-retirement incentives on the basis of age.

To view the Legal Intelligencer article, click here.

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