Minnesota School District Settles Age Discrimination Claim for $1M

August 23, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Another Minnesota school district has been ordered to pay a settlement to former employees, making it the twelfth in a string of age discrimination suits that has cost the districts a total of $2.6 million.

In a consent judgment, the Stillwater School District has been ordered by US District Judge Richard Kyle of the US District Court for the District of Minnesota in St. Paul to pay a $1.1 million settlement as a result of a case filed in December by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of 57 former employees who said their early retirement benefits were reduced because of their age. The agency said the school district reduced the amount of the early retirement incentive payment for each year as the employee grew older, thus violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), according to a news release by the EEOC.

To date, the number of settlements of age discrimination suits filed by the EEOC against Minnesota school districts comes to 12 and gives relief to about 200 retired teachers and other employees, the news release said.

“Even though courts have recognized that such plans violate the laws against age discrimination, some school districts around the country continue to pay younger teachers more than older teachers when they elect early retirement,” said EEOC Chicago District Director John Rowe, in the EEOC news release.

Along with monetary relief, the five-year consent judgment enjoins the Stillwater School District from implementing or administering a retirement plan that reduces benefits based on the age of retirees.