The EEOC’s suit alleges that between 1992 and 2006, four fire companies for the Town of Clarence unlawfully prohibited volunteer firefighters, once they reached a certain age, from accruing service award credits toward their “length of service award programs” (LOSAPs), the equivalent of a retirement pension.
An EEOC news release said the Clarence Center, East Amherst, Harris Hill and Swormville fire companies cut off service credit at age 62 (in 2002 East Amherst reduced that age to 55). As a result, firefighters who continued to work past that age lost pension amounts, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
Although the fire companies amended their respective LOSAPs in January 2006 to allow firefighters to earn service credits regardless of age, the companies did not retroactively award credits to or increase pension amounts for firefighters who were denied credit from 1992 until 2006, the agency said. After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement with the companies, the EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York to require them to award the credits and pay the affected firefighters or their beneficiaries.The EEOC has previously settled similar claims with other New York towns (see Another Fire District Settles Pension ADEA Claim).