School District Settles Age Bias Case

October 4, 2001( - The Coatesville Area School District in Philadelphia has agreed to a settlement of over $475,000 in an age discrimination suit brought by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The suit claims that the district’s early-retirement bonuses were structured on a sliding scale that paid increasingly smaller amounts as workers neared the traditional retirement age, effectively paying less to older teachers.

In a consent decree, the district promised to abandon the policy and to compensate 75 teachers who received reduced payouts on retiring between January 1997 and December 2000, according to the Legal Intelligencer.

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The proposed settlement, which has not yet been approved by the judge, gives the teachers sums ranging from $349 to $15,361, according to court documents.

In addition, the school district promises not to establish a plan that “reduces, limits, or eliminates cash-based benefits under early-retirement incentive plans on the basis of age.”

The district also promises to all of its managerial employees with at least three hours of training on an employer’s legal obligations under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, with an emphasis on ensuring that no employee is retaliated against for exercising his or her rights under the law.

The teachers’ union also promised to urge other local unions around the state not to enter into agreements that reduce or eliminate early-retirement incentives on the basis of age.