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NYC law firm settles partner’s age discrimination case

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in Compensation and Benefits,Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

When attorney Eugene D’Ablemont turned age 70 in 2000, he continued practicing law full time, even though his law firm’s compensation policy made it a lot less lucrative. Kelley Drye & Warren, a New York City law firm with more than 300 attorneys, had a policy of requiring partners who reached age 70 to relinquish equity in the firm, receiving only discretionary bonuses.

Too bad for the firm that D’Ablemont knew the law. He filed an Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) complaint with the EEOC, alleging the firm’s compensation policy discriminated against partners solely because of their age.

This spring, the firm agreed to settle the case. It will change its policy—and pay D’Ablemont money he lost because of the mandatory retirement policy, a total of $574,000.

Note: It’s OK to create incentives to encourage employees to retire, but penalizing workers who don’t accept them violates the ADEA. Always consult your attorney when crafting retirement packages.

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