EEOC Seal

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
9-28-11

Tempe Elementary School District No. 3 Charged With Age Discrimination

Retirement Plan Discriminated against Older Workers, EEOC Alleges in Lawsuit

PHOENIX -- Tempe  Elementary School District No. 3 discriminated on the basis of age when it  applied an early retirement incentive plan which granted greater economic  benefits to younger employees based upon their age, the U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

The EEOC’s lawsuit,  EEOC v. Tempe Elementary School District No. 3, (CV 11-01909- PHX-DGC) filed in the U.S. District Court for the  District of Arizona in Phoenix, alleges that the school district maintained an early  retirement incentive plan that was unlawful. Specifically, the EEOC charges  that the school district’s plan is discriminatory because it grants more favorable  benefits to younger employees based on their age. Under the school district’s retirement plan,  employees are reimbursed for accumulated leave based on their age at  retirement, with those retiring at a younger age being treated more favorably  than those who retire after age 60.

Such alleged conduct  violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act  (ADEA), which prohibits state  and local governments, as well as private employers, from discriminating  against individuals aged 40 and older in terms, conditions, and privileges of  employment—including retirement programs-- because of their age.

The EEOC filed suit  after exhausting its conciliation efforts to reach a voluntary pre-litigation  settlement. The agency is seeking  monetary relief including the amount of money a retiree should have received  but for the discrimination with prejudgment interest. The Commission is also seeking an injunction  prohibiting future discrimination to prevent Tempe Elementary School District  No. 3 from engaging in further practices that discriminate on the basis of age.

“Early retirement incentive  plans which discriminate on their face based upon age are illegal and need to  be changed,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “People in their ‘60s  should not be penalized merely because they want to continue working.”

Rayford  O. Irvin, District Director of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, added, “The  Age Discrimination in Employment Act was enacted to eliminate discrimination  based on age. With more people working  longer and delaying retirement, we will actively protect the rights of people  over 40 to be free from this type of discrimination.”

EEOC’s Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction  over Arizona, Colorado,  Utah, Wyoming,  and part of New Mexico (including Albuquerque).

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the  nation’s laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about  the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.