Alexandria, Va. – November 14 – The National School Boards Association has filed an amicus brief that urges the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve the ability of government agencies, including public school districts, to offer early retirement incentive programs (ERIPs) without fear of age discrimination lawsuits.
The case, Kentucky Retirement Systems, et. al., v. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, involves a law suit by a 61-year old former sheriff’s deputy claiming discrimination, because he was denied eligibility for medical retirement due to his age. The retirement plan permitted employees under 55 to take medical retirement, while those over 55 could only opt for regular retirement. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the retirement plan violated the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).
The NSBA amicus brief asks the Supreme Court to overturn the lower court ruling, and highlights the benefit both employers and employees place on ERIPs, especially where they are the product of collective bargaining agreements between labor unions and public employers, including school districts. NSBA asserts in its brief, that the plans “are not forced on high wage earners, but are voluntary, highly desirable, and openly bargained-for benefits.”
Anne Bryant, NSBA executive director, said, “In these times, where public agencies, and specifically school districts, are trying to get the most out of budgets that are stretched to the limit, offering employees the option of early retirement is a win-win.”
NSBA General Counsel Francisco M. Negrón, Jr., added, “We hope the Court interprets the ADEA in a way that recognizes the economic realities of public employers and employees and allows for flexibility in these valuable benefits.”
Founded in 1940, the National School Boards Association is a not-for profit federation of state associations of school boards representing 95,000 local school board members throughout the United States. Its mission is to foster excellence and equity in public elementary and secondary education through local school board leadership. NSBA represents the school board perspective in working with federal government agencies and national organizations that impact education, and provides vital information and services to state associations of school boards throughout the nation.
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