The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



Largest EEOC Monetary Settlement for Age Discrimination in New York State

New York -- In a consent judgment obtained by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Johnson and Higgins, Inc. agreed to pay $28 million to conclude a lawsuit which alleged that it violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) through its policy of forcing employees who were members of its board of directors to retire at age 62.

The settlement resolves a lawsuit EEOC filed in 1993 in U.S. Southern District Court based upon allegations that the insurance brokerage and employee benefits firm, which employs 7,000 people nationwide, maintained a mandatory retirement policy. The firm was ordered to end the policy and was subsequently acquired by Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.

The EEOC had contended that Johnson and Higgins' policy requiring its employees classified as Directors to retire at the end of the year in which age 62 is attained, or at the end of the year in which age 60 is attained and 15 years of service on the Board is completed, violated the ADEA.

"This case demonstrates that companies cannot arbitrarily impose age-based requirements for employees even if they place them on their Board, and that the EEOC will vigorously fight against corporate policy which violates the ADEA," said James Lee, Regional Attorney for EEOC's New York District Office.

The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects workers 40 and older; the Equal Pay Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; prohibitions against discrimination affecting persons with disabilities in the federal government; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Additional information about the Commission is available on the agency's web site (

This page was last modified on July 29, 1999.

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