According to recent reports, three different state departments in Minnesota are being sued as part of age discrimination lawsuits.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs who claim the state's departments of Commerce, Public Safety and Natural Resources violated laws by not offering benefits to older workers.
According to the lawsuits, the departments offered workers collective bargaining agreements that required signatures. However, upon further inspection, the CBAs mandated that health and dental benefits would be offered to workers who retired at age 55, but not for anyone above that threshold.
In the lawsuits, the EEOC states that failing to offer benefits to older workers is a clear violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. A similar lawsuit was filed in the state in 2008, which resulted in the Department of Corrections issuing backpay to 36 retired workers, plus future premium costs. In all, the lawsuit cost more than $1.2 million for the department.
These latest lawsuits highlight the professional liability that is necessary for companies to adhere to, lest they enter similar legal battles for violating state or federal laws.