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State agencies slapped with age discrimination suits

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

Three state agencies—the Minne­sota departments of Commerce, Pub­lic Safety and Natural Resources—face nearly identical EEOC lawsuits claiming they discriminated against workers based on their age.

The suits arise out of early retirement incentives that offered to pay health insurance premiums of workers retiring at age 55, but not those who are older. The EEOC argues the older workers are being penalized strictly because of their age.

The state has been down this road before. In 2008, lawsuits over similar retirement incentive packages against the Department of Cor­­rec­­tions and Department of Human Services wound up costing the state more than $1.3 million in damages and settlements.

The current round of lawsuits only affects an estimated seven to 10 em­­ployees. State officials claim they are working to change the language in future buyouts to avoid the litigation.

Note: If you get sued for doing something and then lose in court, it may be time to reconsider your policy.

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