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Employment Law News
EEOC And BNSF Railway Agree To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $800,000
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) today announced that they had agreed to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the Commission on behalf of 137 present and former employees who were allegedly denied benefits under exit incentive programs offered by the railroad because they were eligible to retire.
In its lawsuit (Case No. 2:06-CV-2069), filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the EEOC asserted that BNSF discriminated against employees eligible for Railroad Retirement by denying them benefits under exit incentive plans offered to clerical employees in certain of its facilities. The lawsuit also alleged that BNSF and the Transportation Communications International Union (TCU), a union representing the railway’s clerical employees, discriminated against older employees in their labor contract by eliminating their “protected” status, which afforded them certain benefits, when they became eligible to retire and reached age 70. The latter allegations were settled by the filing of a partial consent decree with the court on August 28, 2006, in which BNSF and TCU agreed to remove the provision at issue from the contract. TCU was then dismissed from the case.
The EEOC alleged that between 2002 and 2005, BNSF, in an attempt to reduce its clerical workforce, offered exit incentive plans to clerical employees in Topeka and Kansas City, Kansas, Fort Worth, Texas, and Alliance, Nebraska, but excluded any employee who was eligible for retirement. BNSF employees could retire at age 60 with 30 years of service. Under the exit incentive plans, participating employees ceased working and received $2,500 per month for three years or a lump sum of $90,000. The Commission argued that thirty-five employees over the age of 60 were denied the opportunity to participate in the exit incentive plans offered by the railroad because they were eligible to retire and receive federal Railroad Retirement benefits. Read more at eeoc.gov.
Second Injury Fund benefits may be available durring employment
However, after the first 450 weeks of benefits for total and permanent disability, wages from employment will be used to reduce your benefit amount. The reduction is based upon the percentage that your current earnings bear to those at the time of your being declared totally and permanently disabled.
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Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968
Recipients of federal funding for law enforcement under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3789d, are prohibited by that statute from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Ownership interest in your pension plan benefits and Company matching contributions under the savings program. You have an irrevocable right to a benefit when you are fully vested.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
A comprehensive civil rights law which makes it unlawful to discriminate in private sector employment against a qualified individual with a disability.
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