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January 03, 2003
Suit over Pension Certified as Class Action
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.S. District Court judge in Hartford, Conn. certified as a class action a lawsuit that alleges that Cigna Corp. discriminated against older workers in the way the company converted to a cash balance pension plan, the Hartford Courant reports.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs says that the certification could make as many as 10,000 current and former employees part of the class, according to the Courant.

Filed in December 2001, the lawsuit centers on the company's 1998 decision to convert its pension plan to a cash-balance plan, which uses a formula that includes a fixed percentage of an employee's annual pay.

The plaintiffs' lawyers allege that the firm put illegal conditions on employees' rights to earn future benefits. The lawyers contend that the company forced workers to give up some benefits earned under the traditional plan in order to receive future contributions under the cash balance plan, the Courant notes.

The lawsuit also alleges the company did not comply with a law that required Cigna to inform employees about the disadvantages of the new pension plan.

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