Monday, August 07, 2006

IBM Decision Overturned

A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago yesterday ruled IBM did not discriminate against its older employees in 1999 when it converted its pension plan to cash balance. The decision reverses a 2003 federal court ruling that the change discriminated against older workers. The decision also saves IBM from having to pay up to $1.4 billion to 140,000 older employees and retirees who were affected by the conversion. In its ruling, the appeals court acknowledged that older workers were correct in perceiving "that they were worse off under the cash balance approach" than the defined benefit approach, but "removing a feature that gave extra benefits to the old differs from discriminating against them." The plaintiffs intend to ask the full appeals court to reconsider the ruling.

Maybe if this decision had come down in 2003 IBM wouldn't have frozen their plan.

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