Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Court Rules that Baltimore County's Pension System Discriminated Based on Age

 The U.S. District Court in Baltimore recently ruled that Baltimore County's pension system violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The problem with the system is that it charged older employees more because in theory they would have less time to work before reaching retirement age. The pension system however was amended to add an early retirement option that was not based on age. Instead, it was based on years of service. The early retirement provision "decoupled" age from contributions making it likely that some older workers had to pay more for the same benefits that younger workers received.

The Baltimore Sun has posted a series of articles on the case. I am quoted in one article predicting that the next phase of the case will likely be a battle over damages calculations (sorry for the horn toot):

James E. Rubin, of the Rubin Employment Law Firm in Rockville, said it is "impossible to tell right now" how much the case could cost the county in damages. Typically, both sides hire their own economic analysts to calculate what people are owed.

"There will probably be dueling calculations on what the damages are," Rubin said.

Baltimore County has vowed to fight until there is no one left to fight. If the ruling is upheld, the County predicts. " County employees would have to repay millions of dollars in pension funding. Their paychecks would be decreased as a result of this decision."

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