Friday, February 19, 2010

EEOC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Defense to Age Discrimination Claims

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") released yesterday a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes to redefine a defense now available to employers facing age discrimination claims. The EEOC's proposed amendment, would change its “Differentiations Based on Reasonable Factors Other than Age” regulation, (29 C.F.R. § 1625.7) by identifying new criteria for the “reasonable factor other than age” defense in age discrimination cases. [See]

Friday, February 5, 2010

EEOC Settles Age Discrimination Case With University of Puerto Rico

The University of Puerto Rico has agreed to settle a class age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), according to a press release issued by the EEOC on February 2, 2010. The EEOC had alleged that the University discriminated against public employees age 55 and older by not allowing them to obtain pension credit because of their age. The EEOC’s suit, filed in federal court in Puerto Rico alleged that prior to 2001, the University did not allow older employees to become members of pension systems. The lawsuit also alleged that, in 2001, the University changed its rules to allow older employees to become members, but required that employees age 55 and older pay, in addition to the employee’s contribution to the retirement system, the University's contribution as well.

DOL and Treasury Publish Request for Information and Comment Regarding Lifetime Income Options for Plan Participants

The Department of Labor ("DOL") and the Department of the Treasury ("DOT") (collectively, the "Agencies") are currently reviewing the rules under ERISA and the plan qualification rules under the IRC to determine whether the Agencies could or should enhance, by regulation or otherwise, the retirement security of participants in employer-sponsored retirement plans and in individual retirement arrangements by facilitating access to, and use of, lifetime income or other arrangements designed to provide a lifetime stream of income after retirement. On February 2, 2010, the Agencies published a request for information in the Federal Register to solicit views, suggestions and comments from plan participants, employers and other plan sponsors, plan service providers, and members of the financial community, as well as the general public, on this issue. [For more information, see the DOL's website -] The request for information contains an interesting - albeit brief - discussion of the trend away from traditional defined benefit plans towards defined contribution plans, as well as the "longevity" risks associated with lump-sum payouts upon retirement.