N.Y. Fire Departments Settle Age Bias Charges

April 3, 2013 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Towns in New York have settled charges of discrimination in pension plan offerings filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The Village of North Syracuse, the Town of Cicero and the Town of Clay, as well as the North Syracuse Fire Department, the Cicero Fire Department, the Clay Volunteer Fire Department, the Moyers Corner Fire Department, and the Cicero Fire District, will pay a group of firefighters lost pension benefits as well as provide several firefighters increased future monthly pension amounts.  

The EEOC’s suit charged that from the early 1990s through the late 2000s, the eight defendants had refused to let volunteer firefighters accrue credit toward a “length of service award program” (LOSAP), the equivalent of a retirement pension, because of their age, either 60 or 62 depending on the fire department (see “EEOC Sues N.Y. Fire Districts for Age Discrimination”). As a result, senior firefighters lost pension amounts, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the agency said. 

Although North Syracuse, Cicero, and Clay had amended the LOSAPs to allow firefighters to earn credit without regard to age, the amendment did not provide for lost benefits.   

Under the terms of the agreement, North Syracuse, Clay, Cicero, and the Fire District have agreed to provide the EEOC with contact information for affected firefighters, and the EEOC will contact the firefighters to ascertain lost pension amounts.