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Long Island firefighters win benefits in age-bias settlement

Long Island’s Bayville Fire Department will allow volunteer firefighters to accrue length-of-service credit past age 65 as part of an age discrimination settlement with the EEOC. The volunteers accrue service time and then receive bonuses based on that time. The payments essentially amount to a pension.

Are we vulnerable to reverse discrimination claims because of our ‘early out’ program?

Q. Are there any specific rules defining “early out” retirement packages offered to employees? Our company is planning to offer early outs. Our criteria mandate that an employee must have worked for us for at least 15 years and be at least 50 years old. But we have employees who have worked as long as 28 years who fail to meet the 50-year-old criterion. Is this age discrimination in a reverse sort of way?

‘Healthy Money’ program engages most of firm’s staff


At the Pepsi Bottling Co. in Somers, N.Y., even the employees’ money is a health concern. Since the organization introduced a “financial wellness program” in 2008, more than 20,000 of its 33,000 U.S. employees have participated.

4 ways to boost minority retirement savings


If current demographic trends continue, employers in the future will have larger minority workforces—and see declining employee participation in retirement benefits plans. According to a recent study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, only 28% of Hispanic employees and 41% of black workers take part in retirement plans. Use the following four strategies to increase minority employee participation in your retirement plan.

The HR I.Q. Test: May ’10

Test your knowledge of recent trends in employment law, comp & benefits and other HR issues with our monthly mini-quiz …

Tide turns against employees who sue over stock-based retirement funds that lose money


Lately, employees have been winning when they sue over profit-sharing or retirement plans based on company stock that rapidly lost investment value. In the wake of the Enron bankruptcy scandal, juries sympathized with workers who paid the price for lousy (or illegal) management. Now, employers are gaining the upper hand again, as courts recognize that companies are often in a no-win situation when it comes to providing stock information.

Is it time to restore your 401(k) match?

Eighty percent of employers that stopped contributing to employees’ 401(k)s in 2009 plan to restore company matches by the end of this year, according to Hewitt Associates. To make it easier for employees to amass adequate retirement savings, Hewitt recommends four steps employers can take:

Small employers: New rules on pension deposits


Employers with pension and welfare benefit plans with fewer than 100 participants must deposit participant contributions within seven days of receiving them. The U.S. Department of Labor issued the new rule in January.

Aurora trucking firm sued for bilking employees on benefits


The U.S. Department of Labor has sued Mid-State Express, alleging that the trucking company collected health care premiums from its employees, but never actually used them to buy insurance. As a result, employees face more than $3 million in unpaid medical bills.

Obama proposes automatic IRA enrollment


President Obama used his State of the Union address in January to call on Congress to create a new kind of employer-sponsored retirement account: the “automatic workplace IRA.” By default, workers would be enrolled in a direct-deposit individual retirement account. Workers could opt out of the program, but they would proactively have to do so.