AT&T, EEOC talking settlement in age-bias case

By Reuters
Posted Aug. 5, 2010 at 2:16 p.m.

AT&T Inc. is in talks to settle a lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that chargesĀ  the largest U.S. phone company of discriminating nationwide against workers older than 40.

According to a joint filing by AT&T and the EEOC in Manhattan federal court, the EEOC has proposed a settlement of the nearly year-old lawsuit, and both sides held “substantive settlement discussions” in a June 30 mediation session. Another session is set for Aug. 10.U.S. District Judge Lewis KaplanĀ  Thursday agreed to delay further proceedings until Sept. 6 while the parties “work toward resolution” of the case.

The EEOC accused AT&T in an Aug. 20, 2009, lawsuit of having without any “legitimate” reason deprived thousands of retirees who had left the company the ability to reapply for jobs.

It said the policy covered more than 50,000 workers subject to AT&T’s Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program and Enhanced Pension and Retirement Programs, most of whom are 40 or older.

Before October 2006, workers had been allowed to reapply for jobs after six months, the EEOC said.

Lawyers for AT&T and the EEOC did not immediately return calls seeking comment. A spokesman for Dallas-based AT&T declined to comment immediately.

AT&T employs 272,450 people, according to its Web site.

The EEOC lawsuit sought the rehiring and payment of back wages to affected workers and a ban on further discrimination.

In late-afternoon trading, AT&T shares were up 25 cents, at $26.89, on the New York Stock Exchange.

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One comment:

  1. Peace Please Aug. 5, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    I am hoping this settlement happens. It has been a painful year.