Delta Sued over Pension Calc Changes

July 6, 2009 ( - A Delta Air Lines flight attendant has sued the carrier over allegations Delta improperly adopted a Social Security offset when calculating pension benefits.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said Jean Marie Cinotto, a 30-year Delta veteran, alleged in the suit that the Social Security offset violates the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) anti-cutback rule.

The suit charged that Delta made the change in 2007 while reorganizing its operations under federal Bankruptcy Court protection. The change could affect tens of thousands of pension participants and beneficiaries, the suit claimed, in asking the court to declare the case a class action.

Delta told the newspaper it made the change under the Pension Protection Act. “Without it, the pension plans for all flight attendants and ground employees would have been terminated,” Delta spokeswoman Gina Laughlin told the Journal-Constitution.

Delta terminated its pilot pension plan while in bankruptcy proceedings, but retained the plan for flight attendants and ground workers, which it had frozen in 2005, the newspaper said.

The suit is available here .